Privatized Profit / Socialized Debt: They Play, We Pay

In light of recent economic craziness, I called a Republican friend of mine the other day to ask him if he had put an Obama sign in his yard yet. He hadn’t, and for effect he asked, “I pay enough taxes. Why are you such a Socialist?”

I, of course, am not a Socialist, as a record of my extremely self-serving personal purchases easily proves. But whenever I get the “they’ll raise my taxes” speech from my Democrat fearing friends, the first thing I want to say is “have you checked out Obama’s economic plan?” And then I want to say snarky things like, “I don’t hear you complaining about the national interstate road system or the Internet.” Love them or hate them, both were tax-funded innovations that our economy now depends on, and ironically enough, both were defense initiatives. So, way to go Department of Defense!

I feel my uber-capitalist friend’s pain though. I understand why holding on to our hard-earned money is a logical impulse, though I tend to spend mine (G. Bush should love me!).

Here is what I don’t understand. How is it that the CEOs and heads of Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and every other Tom, Dick and Harry bank that’s getting ready to fold walk away richer than Croesus while I get stuck paying their companies’ bad debts?

If Republicans are so vehemently opposed to socialism, why are they so ready to socialize the debt of private companies that took such ridiculous risks? The Democrat in me is willing to pitch in to keep the U.S. from going belly up, but FIRST I want to see the Ferragamo-wearing suits who got us into trouble forking over giant piles of their own cash. If they had as much pride in this country as they say they do, they would make a significant donation of their outlandish holdings to the national coffers. Only then would I be okay with whipping out the national checkbook to bail them out.

I’m tired of hearing we don’t have enough money to fund No Child Left Behind or fix Social Security or take care of the veterans coming home from Iraq, when all it took was a ONE-DAY turnaround for a Lehman Brothers bailout. Where did they find THAT money? Tucked into an Oval Office sofa? Honey, please.

Maybe my complaint is simplistic. My mom is a banker and my dad is a CPA, and I tell them frequently they got all of the finance genes out of the gene pool before I was born. But it seems to me like the little guy is left holding the bag for the rich way too often these days.

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