The Bush administration's plan to bail out the nation's financial institutions represents an unprecedented intervention in free markets. If the Wall Street bailout is adopted, Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky said last week, "the free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America."The Bush administration wants the $700 billion buyout so that those upper-middle-class Americans who so deftly tend to think they are "above" the market can continue living in the manner to which they are accustomed. Wake up, people! If you can't afford to lose money in the stock market, you can't afford to make money in the stock market. Why should my taxed be raised such that people with three cars and a nice home and a yard and 2.5 children and a golden retriever be able to continue their weekly shopping trip to the mall? I work hard and I save my money. I should not be penalized because a bunch of people who are well-off and comfortable feel less so because of mistakes they made themselves. Don't buy a house you can't afford! Don't opt for an adjustable rate mortgage! Don't put thousands of dollars into the stock market that you can't afford to lose! Why do we treat stupidity like an incurable disease?
A fundamental principle of free-market capitalism is that investors take on big risks to reap big rewards — but they also assume any losses that occur. The government's plan would radically alter that model, leaving profits private while making losses public.
I know there are many people out there who are - or will be - negatively affected by the downturn in the market, including (probably) family members. I knew people who lost thousands when the proverbial bubble burst back in the late nineties. And I know that it is decidedly un-Christian to complain about helping others. But we need to understand where the true need lies. Helping those in middle-class suburbia who vote Republican and want to have the nicest landscaped lawn on South Walden Street get out of their self-imposed debts is not the real need. Providing food, water, medical care, clothing and shelter ("basic necessities," for those of you who can't remember) for those who have nothing, those who live on the street or in homeless shelters or squeeze a dozen to an apartment in dirty buildings just a few blocks from the flashy facades of Wall Street, it is these poor souls who need are help. Put the $700 billion into better public schools, into soup kitchens, into grants to help the underprivileged get their GED and get a job. Put it into buying seed and livestock for dirt-poor farmers in developing countries and into providing cheap medical insurance and daycare for single parents.
If my ranting seems decidedly socialist, I apologize. I have no problem with capitalism, as long as those - and only those - who choose to play the game are forced to abide by the rules. A $700 billion buyout, funded by the tax dollars of someone like me, is not the solution.