20 November 2008
Where the bloody hell is MY bailout??
I have refrained from commenting on the economic mess thus far because the election was far too engrossing. Now that I don't have to have hysterics over the McFailin/Same ticket, I intend to make up for lost time.
I worked in the financial services industry for seven very long years. I wasn't a loan officer (thank the gentle goddess) but I worked with many of them, and understand the process well. I don't have much sympathy for the lenders who ended up with a bunch of bad debt. At Ye Olde Evile Bank, they had a simple calculation that they did to figure out how much they could lend to a particular person. If you didn't, oh, HAVE A JOB, then you weren't getting a loan. If you couldn't afford a bazillion dollar a month mortgage, you weren't going to get one. If you didn't have serious cash for a down payment on a house, your interest rate was going to be high. All of this is pretty common-sense. So allowing people to get into mortgages where they end up upside-down (where they owe more than the house is worth) was not the smartest move the lenders could make.
I have a very difficult time stomaching the 700 BILLION with-a-B bailout package. Big problems with that. I'm astonished (and disgusted) that it passed Congress. Keeping fat-cat executives swimming in golden parachutes does not sit well with me. I'm also disgusted to note that Bloomberg News has had to take the ridiculous step of suing the federal government to get information about which banks are taking advantage of the bailout. Transparency, anyone? Ugh.
Now the US auto manufacturers are requesting an additional 25 billion dollars. If you've never seen the number shown in a numerical format, here it is: 25,000,000,000,000
That, my friends, is a large number.
I have little sympathy for the automakers, in the same way that I don't feel sorry for the lenders. American car manufacturers have spent the last 10+ years focusing on SUVs, ginormous gas-guzzlers that the average person has no need for. If you're not hauling big stuff around in a trailer, or living in super-rugged territory, YOU DO NOT NEED A 4-WHEEL DRIVE BEHEMOTH. *ahem* Sorry. I'll step down off the soapbox.
But US car manufacturers haven't spent the time or the money working on alternative fuels, and have lobbied against more stringent CAFE standards, the government acronym for legislation that involves vehicle emissions. Of course, I also place some blame for this squarely at the feet of the Idiot Administration, which funneled money for research into alternative energy to other sources, and spent a bunch of time trying to convince Congress to allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and in Anwar. But that IS what ya get when you have an oil executive and his cronies running the country.
The thing is that when I was unemployed in the summer of 2007, there wasn't anyone handing ME a financial bailout package. There were no lines of taxpayers willing to pony-up for me to fix all of my economic woes. So how about it, Uncle Sam? Where's MY cash?