Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I feel clueless

Not since my days as an almost economics major have I read so much about money and markets. And I still don't really have a clue what's going on. It's not that I'm dumb, but I think there's some smoke and mirrors going on. One lawmaker yesterday said that there should be provisions for limiting what the CEO's get out of this deal. Paulson's response was that the companies might not take it in that case. And then I and some others are like, are you kidding? Sounds like they don't really need it. Do broke relatives who come begging for money get to put conditions on the handout? I don't think so. We have conditions on welfare for crying out loud. And isn't this basically corporate welfare?

I sort of understand that basically there's no money to be had and that the $700 billion bailout is a way of getting money out there for banks to lend to each other and in theory, to us and to buy shares in things, etc. But no one's sure if that will work and we're not getting anything out of the deal. We will not share ownership in the companies and the assets we hold may be worth less than Monopoly money. No one's really talking about what scenarios we might be facing with or without the bailout. No one's saying exactly what will happen except that it will be dire. Well, how dire? Tell us.

The whole thing makes me mad. As I have personally tried to decrease my debt, the country has gone the other way and has encouraged others to go along. "Go shopping," Bush said after 9/11 and we did. And I was really pissed watching Andrew Sullivan on Real Time blame the people who took out the bad loans for putting us into this mess. Has he been to a mortgage broker or a car dealer lately? They're selling these things to people--hard. NPR did a story about this not long ago where brokers forced people to lie on applications so the loan would go through. You can't both say people are dumb and then blame them for being swindled into a loan they can't afford. Bush's mantra has been work hard and you'll get ahead. Well, that's just patently not true. The real truth is, have friends in high places and you'll get ahead. And if the current situation doesn't prove that, I don't know what does.