cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Our news is dominated by talk about the "bailout" that has been prompted by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market. Even at its current value, the bailout supposedly carries a cost of nearly $2,400 for every man, woman and child in the country.
This hits us in the last 45 days or so of the race for the presidency of our country. It hits when we face the election of those who will represent us in the House of Representatives for another two years. It is, as so much has been, being used as the proverbial "political football". It also threatens to become the largest single "pork-barrel" conveyance we've seen in recent history.
Many will argue where the blame lies, but, at the moment, I am more concerned with how this 'package' will look when it finally emerges from the 'back rooms' on Capitol Hill. Actually, I am more concerned with what will be included and obscured by political double-speak.
I must confess that I have little faith in too many of the politicians that will participate in this decision-making process to make me at all comfortable that we'll be best-served, as a nation, with the outcome.
I see the results of past such situations. I see that, when the dust settles, we find too many gifts to too many people of our hard-earned money cloaked in fine language but smarmy nonetheless. Our politcos cannot seem to help themselves when there is so much opportunity to grab so many dollars dangled in front of their eyes. And, too many of those dollars may find their way back into the pockets of these decision-makers in the form of sweetheart deals. It is too easy for the recipients of multi-million dollar 'gifts' to give a few hundred thousand of those dollars back to those who made it all possible.
I marvel at the millionaires that have been made on Capitol Hill. I look back at a congressman who had taught grade school, was elected and served in congress, the vice-presidency and the presidency and who, somehow, ended up with ownership of a chain of television and radio stations. I see a man elected to and serving as majority leader of the Senate who somehow managed to buy up property that sits perfectly in Nevada so as to now be worth many times the original price.
I suspect that Lyndon Johnson, were he alive, and Harry Reid, if pressed, could give answers to their respective 'breaks' that would seem proper...and that might, in fact, be true. But, there just seems to be too much of this kind of thing to permit me to be other than suspicious.
Those are just two stories. There must be hundreds or thousands of such stories. These are people who were thought to be honorable servants of the people. These were people to whom voters gave their trust only to learn years down the road that they had misplaced that trust.
Add to this, the recent revelations of favored mortgage deals that none of we mere taxpayers were ever given the opportunity to receive. These deals were in the news only several weeks ago, and those people are now making the 'back room' deals using our money. The news of tax payments not having been made by an official in charge of tax law was just in the headlines a week or so ago, and that man is playing in the big leagues of 'deal making' a few days later.
They make these deals as easily as we would make deals in a game of Monopoly...but they use real money...if there is such a thing. And that real money comes from us...the 'us' who pay income taxes. They make deals that protect them and that protect their large campaign donors. They make deals that will attract even bigger donations in the future.
I dislike sounding like such a skeptic...but I am. And, I don't think it is entirely my fault that I'm a skeptic; I've had a lot of help over the years from a lot of politicians.
So...Bailout or Boondoggle? What's your guess?