“The government is promoting bad behavior!” CNBC’s Rick Santelli complained about President Barack Obama‘s mortgage bailout plan from the Chicago Board of Trade, as traders urged him on. “This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”  2/19/09


Why would White House react?


“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

–Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429




No problem: I’m with the government, and I’m here to help you.

by Allan Erickson



Business is down, but still chuggin’ along.  Some near-term setbacks had me up at 3:00 a.m. thinking it through.  This morning Jodi and I talked about how we might cut expenses and stimulate income in other ways. 

Heard a news report about how this new federal mortgage bailout plan works.  Apparently you have to have a serious loss of income or become unemployed, and fall behind on your mortgage for at least a couple months.   At that point you can apply for federal relief.

We talked about this worst case scenario. What would it mean if our small staffing business fails and I’m unable to generate income for six months or so?  Would we face default?   Would we apply for federal help?

Thinking it through we quickly realized if we did apply for government help, we would not be getting money from the government, we would actually be taking money from a fellow American, probably somebody in similar straits. 

The government is only the go-between, taking its cut of course, to pay Congressional salaries, and staff salaries, and salaries and expenses for federal bureaucrats, and trips to the Vatican on a government jet operating at $200,000 per hour, and $100/lb. steaks for White House functions.   Heaven forbid the federal government look to cutting expenses and stimulating income via genuine economic development.   Easier to expand government and print funny money, pay off political favors and stimulate dependency.

For us, it would be morally wrong to ask the government for money.  To our way of thinking we would only be using the government to rob from a fellow American.

Participating in the federal mortgage bailout program would be immoral in another way.

This government has already saddled our kids and future grandkids with insurmountable debt.  If we took taxpayer money to cover our personal obligations, even for a short time, we would be robbing our kids and grandkids. 

Our Boomer Generation—already an abysmal failure—compounds our failure by plundering future  generations.  What a disgrace.

No.  If we can’t afford this house then we’ll have to sell it and downsize or rent.  It is not our neighbors’ responsibility to pay our mortgage, and it is not the role of government to take from one citizen to subsidize the irresponsibility of another. 

People who take mortgage bailout money ought to be ashamed.   They won’t be.  They’ll justify it.  They will tell themselves they deserve it because the rich are rotten, Wall Street is rotten, the Banks are rotten, it’s payback for racism, or some other mindless justification for sanctioning institutionalized thievery. 

People who got in over their heads need to manage their own affairs.   The majority could not afford a mortgage, and that situation has not changed, only worsened.   Default is still a likelihood.  Government bailouts only delay the inevitable, and for what purpose, so the President can look good?

A government that twisted the arms of lenders to make risky loans should butt out and stop meddling in private enterprise.  More meddling simply exacerbates the problem.

Apparently, most Americans are no longer about making hard choices and proceeding responsibly.  We used to be tough that way.   Rather, it appears, most Americans are content to stand by idly with their hands out, glad to have Uncle Sam rob from productive people to underwrite sloth and indigence. 

One day in America it was considered humiliating to take a hand out.

Today it’s celebrated, expected, even demanded.

How far we’ve fallen.


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