I’m interested in understanding different viewpoints on our country’s issues. I’m confused about the economy and what’s happened over the last 6-9 months.
Last year, under the leadership of GW Bush, our country passed some bailout of about $750 million dollars that went to major banks and businesses that were in trouble. We’re giving help to and rewarding these corporations for their bad business decisions. We’re encouraging them to continue to act irresponsibly because there are no consequences. Many of these companies then gave their executives large bonuses, took extravagant trips, or otherwise publicly wasted money.
Then there was the automotive bailout, which was completely useless. The auto companies in Detroit have been resisting change for far too long, with the intent of being profitable in the short-term. Now change has forced itself on the industry and the companies can’t keep up and can’t make a profit – except, it seems, for Ford. But we’ll see how long their good fortune lasts.
And now we’ve got this stimulus package which I have been neglecting to learn about because of my disillusionment with these other government money-giveaways. As far as I understand it, this money is going to be pumped into state governments, infrastructure projects, job creation, etc. One thing I’ve heard a little about lately is a program to help homeowners keep their homes. And I hear plenty of people complaining about how the people who aren’t paying their bills will be rewarded for that bad behavior and that the responsible, hard-working people won’t get anything, not even a slap on the back and an “atta boy”. I understand that feeling – to an extent.
There are two elements of that sentiment that completely boggle me, though. So please help me understand. Why is it okay to give money away to corporations that act irresponsibly with their money and with the environment and everything else they touch, but it’s not okay to give some money to the little guy who’s suffering exponentially in comparison to the big corporations? We’re losing 600,000 jobs a month here, folks. How did throwing money at the corporations save that many jobs per month?
The other part that’s tough for me to understand is about the general animosity toward other human beings. There may be a small percentage of people that are taking advantage of the system and going to profit from this stimulus package. But the majority of people that this will benefit are not unlike you or me. I believe they probably made the best decision they could when they purchased their homes. They could probably afford to pay their mortgages. They probably had money saved up in case of emergencies. Then they hit hard times. Pay rates remained stagnant, while prices went up everywhere on everything, from gas to groceries to health care. And health care benefits got worse while other benefits got cut, year after year, at nearly every company. People were losing jobs and losing stability, though they had been counting on their stability to remain. Meanwhile, these people are being forced out of their homes that, before all the fit hit the shan, they could afford and enjoy. These foreclosed homes, coupled with the other homes up for sale in the neighborhood that haven’t sold for many months, are driving the home values down for everyone. And no one’s buying anything. People who formerly had high-paying, white-collar positions are left walking the streets at night with nothing but their families and the clothes on their backs. Please tell me why it’s so evil to give money to these people, when it will have such a dramatic effect on their lives? When it will have a positive effect on the rest of America’s lives? And when we did the same thing for corporations that will just throw it all away? Why in the world is this bad? Do we really want to have mansions and Hoovervilles (Bushvilles) be the only two options in America?
Look, I was against the financial industry giveaway and the auto industry giveaway because it’s been shown that trickle-down Reaganomics doesn’t work. It makes the rich richer and the poor stagnant, at best. It makes the gap between CEO pay and laborer pay increase by incredible margins. While I am sadly uninformed about this new stimulus package, I can’t understand how it could be worse than the bailout bonanza of the last few months. At least, it seems to me, we’re finally targeting the people that need real help and have the most power to positively impact the economy – the American citizen. And while I know that, legally, corporations were granted personhood long ago, I wish being an actual citizen (with voting power) carried more clout than money-hungry soul-eating corporations. Or should we just start letting them vote, too?