Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Irresponsible" Bailout

As a taxpayer who will have to help foot the bill for the massive bailout of our corrupt borrowing and lending system, I do not accept the fact that my family and I (and millions of other individuals and families who have been responsible economic citizens) should have to be responsible for rescuing other people and corporations from their irresponsible behavior.  As Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson reminded us just yesterday, "we all know" that the economic crisis we find ourselves in is a direct result of "lax lending practices earlier this decade [that] led to irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing."  Given that this is common knowledge, shouldn't those who have engaged in such "irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing" be forced to be responsible for their own actions?

Rather than begin by bailing out irresponsible corporations and individuals, the federal government should begin by protecting the investments of the millions of Americans who have behaved responsibly.  Why not devote half a trillion dollars to insure the savings, insurance, and investments of those of us who did not participate in the frenzy of irresponsible borrowing, or those companies who did not lend irresponsibly?  Once those who have behaved responsibly are protected, only then should the government turn towards bailing out those who, by acting so irresponsibly, have gotten the country into this mess in the first place?

I'm not an economist or a legislator, so I'm not certain how a principle like this might be put into place.  But perhaps one place to start would be to protect individual worth up to a certain dollar amount per person, protecting those with the least rather than, as this bailout promises to do, those with the most?

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