Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Am I being a scrooge for not wanting to be taken for a sucker? Part II

Surely you didn’t think my last post would be my last word on this subject.  But instead of “bashing” those who would scam the social welfare system, I want to bash those businesses that think we are all suckers.  You know the ones I am talking about, the financial industry, the auto industry, the housing industry, and, I kid you not, the gambling industry.  I saw a news story on some cable channel this morning on Las Vegas wanting its part of the bailout money.  And the gambling industry’s representative was trying to make the case as to why Vegas should get some of the loot.  It is at times like this when we need someone to ask as Alan Colmes asked the funeral protesters, “What is wrong with you?” 

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that what the gambling industry does is not that different from what those on Wall Street do.  Some free-market apologists (I like using the term “free-market apologist” because the Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy called me that when I took his sociology class on non-violence many years ago.) think that when something happens in the private sector, we are supposed to automatically defend it because to do otherwise would mean we support government intervention.  Unfortunately, many of these free-market apologists end up defending some pretty despicable actions and people.  Many of the complicated financial instruments these financial institutions created were worthless paper holding up a house of cards.  In a true free market, they would be punished but not in our current system that protects big and powerful companies who are able to buy big and powerful senators and congressmen.

Earlier I listed a few of the industries that think we are suckers.  Well, I forgot one industry - the legislative industry.  Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was more crude about it, but make no mistake what he tried to do happens all the time.  Our elected officials use the US Treasury to buy power and reward friends.  Read Atlas Shrugged and you will recognize your senator and congressman.  Just like I ended my first “scrooge – sucker” post by saying that as good stewards we should practice due diligence, we should do likewise when dealing with our elected officials when they treat us like suckers.

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