This Week’s Hall of Shame Award Goes To:

Congress, the President, Wall Street and the American People

For the last two weeks and really several months, the economy has dominated the discussion in America and around the world.  Specifically, the last two weeks, all eyes have been on Washington, D.C. about the $700 billion proposed bailout which has lots of people screaming and casting blame.  Republicans are blaming Democrats and Democrats are blaming Republicans.  Everyone’s blaming Wall Street and some are blaming Main Street.

The more I think about it, I say all of us are to blame. 

Republicans and Democrats on the Hill are to blame.  Both have enacted partison legislation at different times that has enabled this mess and the opposing party did not  intervene to do what was right, morally, ethically or just plain common-sense-right. The President is to blame for not saying, warning or doing anything, much less not keeping his eye on the situation.  Wall Street is to blame for participating in and allowing corporate greed, all in the name of increased profits. 

All those people “buying” what they couldn’t afford should also know better, despite what a money grubbing bank might otherwise indicate.  And the rest of us who pay all their bills and don’t live beyond our means are to blame.  I’ve been saying for 10 years, “How in the world do people afford bigger homes, nicer clothes and designer clothes when I know they make half of what I do?”  Yet I, and I suspect the vast majority, did not do anything about, did not speak up, did not write our congressmen, did not vote out no-good politicians though we suspected something was up.

I’d say nearly all of us have been sucked in one way or the other.  Now I know that there are many people who live on practically nothing and they would hold the least amount of blame, though I’d question who they voted for.  But unless they’ve lived within their means, living by the “I deserve just a little bit more, a little bit better” attitude has been a big part of the problem.  Upsizing, supersizing, going bigger because those materialistic things continued to shine like fool’s gold has only made us poorer. 

So  I say, shame on all of us.  (For any of you who don’t fit any of the categories above and have done things right, I’ll hold you innocent.)  But, now let’s get together and do what American’s have always done well and tackle this problem and be better for it.


7 responses to “This Week’s Hall of Shame Award Goes To:

  1. I was warned about this very situation unfolding about 18 months ago, so no one in Washington can act like they didn’t see this coming. Don’t buy this, “We were blindsided” demeanor that they’re putting on. They knew. And as is typical, they waited until things got out of control before they decided to act.

    If they really didn’t see it coming, then they aren’t qualified to be in their position. I’m of the opinion that Paulson is one such person. He’s in over his head. I don’t buy the ignorance act from the rest.

    Remember that commercial with the guy who’s a member of the local golf club, has a nice house, kids, family, etc….and he’s “in debt up to his eyeballs”? That’s the typical American family these days. I hate to say it, but the standard of living for a lot of Americans is about to plummet as they fall back to reality. Too many people are living far beyond their means.

    Maybe some good will come out of this in America. I hope that people will recognize that faith, family & friends are far more important than having the latest, greatest toys they could have survived without in the first place. Sure, I’m guilty from time to time myself and have to be reminded. But at least we don’t buy what we can’t pay for and we don’t substitute possessions for happiness as a family.

    As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” Right now, a lot of folks are regretting the day they thought they could.

  2. I think I’m in the same boat with you. Unfortunately all those others are too which reminds me of the comment that someone made.

    Two men were in a canoe and one man said, “why should I have to bail when it’s your side of the boat that’s sinking.”

  3. Right now I feel like we’re being forced to buy everyone a canoe because Washington felt like everyone should have one.

  4. My wife and I rarely ever use credit cards, and feel quite good about it. People have varying degrees of skills and income levels, but some in this great country believe we should all have the same things. In other words, take from one and give to the other. That is a skewed outlook on life and should not be the norm.

    The plain fact is, many people just can’t afford high living standards, but do try, overextending themselves in the process. Now, we who do try living within our means are going to have to bail many of them out. Why is that?

  5. My wife and I have been saying for 10 years, literally, that we couldn’t see how people could afford bigger, better and nicer stuff than us. Well, we suspected but now we know. We don’t have any debt except our house and a car we just bought though we could pay it completely off (I just feel more comfortable with maintaining the emergency fund.) It’s what we’ve promoted in this country, materialism, gimmee gimmee, I want more and now we’re reaping the benefits of greed and people wanting more than they can afford. I’ve been in other countries and see people living on $100 a month or less. The ‘poor’ here still for the most part make or should make about $1000 a month at minimum wage levels. I hate the idea of a bailout and really, from what I’ve heard there are other measures that can be taken (mark to market) that are much less costly. It’s time we stop taking from the rich and giving to the poor and it’s time we all start living within our means. unfortunately, if something doesn’t happen, all of us who have lived within our means will and already are taking a big hit (just check your IRA’s to prove that).

  6. Mark to market occurs tonight at the end of the quarter per the new FASB standards that went into effect last year. These mortgage securities are going to have to be valued as worthless because there is no market for them. I think that’s why they were trying to push this bailout through so quickly.

    We’re about to find out in the next few weeks which banks are solvent and which aren’t.

  7. Oh, I didn’t realize that. The poop may just be starting to hit the fan, too, huh?

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