Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bail Outs – The Government Kind

Yeah; let’s talk about “government bailouts”.

How does it affect “us”? Well, I don’t know about “us”, but I know how it affects me. It makes me crazy!

First, the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street: the companies actively listed on the NASDAQ are “publicly traded, privately held”. When stocks are down, there is much buying and when stocks are up, there is selling for profits.

Deciding on what to buy has always been a trader’s privilege. It is gambling in its purest form. If you gamble correctly, you will make a lot of money. When you don’t choose the right stocks, you could lose a lot. Where is it written that the process should be subsidized by governments?

If I get in over my head and say, purchase a house-i.e. gamble that I will continue to get pay raises or even stay employed-who helps me? The answer is still ME! I would never look to the government for help. A bank or mortgage company; yes. Bankruptcy would be last on my list. The ghost of my father would haunt me to insanity if I didn’t make good on my commitments. And that is what it is; honoring my commitment to a lending institution.

Second, the $25 billion bailout of the Big Three automakers: first of all, you don’t drive a Cadillac to a meeting to plead poverty. You don’t pop champagne if you get the money and get to keep your Cadillac. You should be ashamed; ashamed that you were able to “work the system” at the expense of the truly needy.

The last time I looked, the free market supports companies that manufacture and sell a quality product at an affordable price. I think that I just summed it up right there! Is it any wonder that Toyota has sold the number one car in this country right up to this year? You don’t hear them crying for a hand out.

Bottom line is: if your labor and benefit costs are too high and people aren’t buying because of quality issues, including crappy gas mileage, then what should be done?

I agree that a CEO is not worth $30 million a year, but neither is a guy running a pneumatic wrench making $30-plus an hour. Have you ever wondered why employees of a national union continues to draw their cushy six-figure salaries, while their membership is walking the picket line for $200 a week? The unions aren’t free from some blame in this, either. They have a hierarchy that they must pay for, too.

We live in a very greedy, "ME" society…until things go bad! Then, it's "WE"!

Which brings me to the fire service: where was the government bailout when some of the apparatus companies were filing for bankruptcy or going out of business? Am I the only one who hears crickets chirping?

What we do is literally a matter of life and death. What Wall Street and automakers do are not!

What we do is to take a bad situation and make it better. What they do is to pay out exorbitant bonuses when times are good and to ask for taxpayer money when things are bad.

What we do is to have a pre-plan and to prepare for disaster. What they do is to sell the “flavor of the month” during Super Bowl Sunday.

Since the FIRE Act was enacted, the fire service has been infused with a grand total of approximately $2.9 billion (2001-2007)! And they have cut the funding every year since its inception. Does anyone else see a problem here?

We are a country who will stand by and watch fire stations close and firefighters getting laid off, forcing those who remain to do more with less and yet, those same people are yelling for the government to bail out these publicly traded companies.

The natural order says that, when a company goes out of business, ten more will be there to take their place. The same cannot be said of firefighters and fire departments.

It would be an entirely different scenario if firefighters ran Wall Street or an auto company. Workers would definitely have to grow thicker skin. They would have to think for themselves and be challenged to improve the team.

That would make us and the country much stronger and it would be done without a bailout.
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