Are You Thankful For The $7 Friggin' Trillion Dollar Bailout?

It seems we are early in the ever-growing economic downturn turned economic recession turned not-as-great-as-the-Great-Depression depression, but a story I read yesterday struck me as an interesting piece of fantasy. The Star Tribune headline read: This Bailout's For You. An accompanying smaller headline spelled out: Bailout Tab So Far $7,000,000,000,000 (that'd be $7 trillion). Suddenly the bailout number is bigger than a damn UPC code and about as meaningful...unless, of course, you actually know what the stuff in a UPC code stands for and can actually relate it to the related I2of5 code. But I only know what those codes mean because my boss' boss' boss' got a nasty gram from a big customer about us not providing them with information on the i2of5 code. More proof that experts are born from the womb of the mother of necessity.

So I'm reading the Strib story that said the government will deploy as much as $800 billion more bailout money "to make it cheaper for Americans to get a home mortgage, take out a car loan or borrow money through a credit card, as the government's intervention in the financial system expands to directly address the impact of the credit crisis on consumers."

How is this going to help me? Let's see, the 11.9 percent (I refinanced a couple times since) mortgage I took out on my house 20 years with 20 percent down should be paid off in 2009. The combined balance on my wife's and my credit cards is zero. It's used for trips and short-term purchases like the new bike, shoes, helmet and other stuff I bought last June. It is paid off in a couple of months. Of the two cars sitting in my garage, one was paid off two years ago and the other will be paid off next year. Both are Fords. The cars traded for them were Fords; the cars traded in for them were Dodge, and GM. Don't blame me for the Big Three automakers' troubles. I've never owned a foreign car.

Speaking of the Big Three automakers, what actually is the big deal about a $25 billion bailout tossed their way? Maybe I've become proportionally jaded here, but just a couple of months ago the Congress voted down the first bailout package of $700 billion. A week later and $110 billion of vote securing pork additives Congress approved an $810 billion bailout package. Who would have even noticed if they bumped it up another $25 billion?

If we used the metric decimal system of our currently and scaled these numbers down to Joe-The-Plumber numbers, it would be like adding a quarter to an $8.10 loan to your plumber friend at lunch. How would put a stink up over that? After all, if somebody asked you in 1933 "Hey, buddy can you spare me a dime?" they have to rephrase the question to $1.59 to get it into 2008 terms.

Of course, we could recast these numbers into more contemporary terms. Remember the War in Iraq? Before the war, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the cost at $100 to $200 billion. So the White House got rid of him and "re-estimated" the cost at $50 to $60 billion. It's now over $605 billion and growing.

You'd call me naive or worse, but I would say the squawk against bailing out the Big 3 has less to do with their ability to do business and more to do with politics. The hearts of the Big 3 wanly beat in the Democratic blue states. A majority of foreign auto manufacturers in the US are located in solid Republican, red states. Vetoing a bailout to the Big 3 maybe the last chance for Republicans neuter the hopes of unionism in the manufacturing sector of the US. That leaves the growing service sector unions to fight from the bottom up.

From what I've read and heard about the various bailouts, I'm not sure the government "experts" are able to catching the Frisbee of reality. You don't even have to read more than the headlines to see this: Citicorp To Cut 53,000 Jobs; 80,000 jobs lost, unemployment spikes; BNY Mellon Will Eliminate 4% of Jobs as Profit Falls; Merck cuts 7,200 jobs; National City cuts 4,000 jobs; PepsiCo cuts 3,300 jobs; GM cuts 1,600 jobs; Yahoo cuts 1,500; Andersen cuts 52 jobs...

How in the hell is anybody worried about losing a job going to be running out and buying a new house because the interest rate is down one percent? Why would they buy an existing home, when the prices are still dropping? Wouldn't that be stepping into a potential equity trap? Who's going to buy a new car, unless you are certain of the security of your job? Why would you be encouraging additional credit card consumption, when the cavalier use to credit is a big component of the growing problem?

This isn't a free-market capitalism v. socialism issue! This isn't a Republican v. Democrat issue! This isn't a big government v. small Government Issue! This is a bullshit and baloney issue…as in of how many pounds of economic bullshit and rhetorical baloney can the powers that be stuff down the throats of us taxpaying, Americans before we gag reflex and barf out the words "enough you Goddamn thieves, whores and lying bastards cross-dressing as elected representatives!" The only crumbs those Washington cake eaters are feeding us are the crumbs of bullshit now paving the pockmarked path of economic despair that once led to the dreams and hopes of golden years that awaited us at the end of a long working life. Not to be... The gang rapers the trickle down economics have had their way with us, taken the cherries of our innocence and blended into the crowd with their greedy hands out asking for more. And so it goes...

Maybe it's time to start laying off government experts and the Panglossian forecasters with their receipts for rainbow stew and promises free Bubble Up. Maybe then, economic theory will turn into common sense reality. Maybe Wisconsin Governor Doyle did the right thing by cancelling the raises and merit increases for state employees. I know many people in the private sector who have seen that happening for a couple years now. Maybe Obama will get things all figured out and we will all live happily ever after and every body's 401K's will skyrocket to unheard of levels, the national debt will soon be a faint memory and next Spring the town maintenance guys will be filling potholes on my street with gold.

My wife ask me what I was thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful that the cold and sore throat that sent me home early from work on Tuesday is going away. I am thankful that I still have a job to leave early from when I’m sick. I am thankful that my wife is cooking me a nice turkey dinner. I’m thankful she called me upstairs to watch the huge flock of geese flying over the house. I am thankful that I grew up in a house with seven kids who sometimes had to eat cheese hot dish and drink powdered milk for the three or fours days while we waited for the Old Man’s paycheck hit the bank. I am thankful that I have a wife who grew in a large family that spent a few years living on the Kansas plains in a 10X40 foot trailer and understands where the bottom is and what it's like to be living near there. I am thankful that I don't take tomorrow for granted and I'm thankful I learned the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared!"

The wife just announced that dinner is served. Time will tell whether it's for better or worse. Until the next, I got eat while there is still food to put on the table.

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