Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Senseless Economics

Having an inquiring mind has its ups and downs. Right now, I'm in a downward slump. 

See, I have many people who will call or email me to ask about one issue or another -- knowing that I love research and will dig until I find the answer... normally, this is not a big problem for me. But when it comes to the economical struggles our country is currently facing, I am having so much trouble getting my head around it all. I confess to being an economic ignoramus. Read that last sentence carefully, for that's the only warning you're going to get.

I'm reading news accounts of trouble on Wall Street... financial institutions threatening to fold right and left... needing "rescue." Ah... the federal government steps in. To the tune of trillions of dollars so far, they are rescuing giants everywhere. I find this to be troubling. 

Sighs of relief abound, however, on Wall Street and elsewhere... because in the rescue there is a reprieve from the staggering losses. 

Because I have no degree in economics, I resort to good old-fashioned common sense to form my opinion on this issue. I think the rescue of these financial giants by the government is a scary thing. I think they should fall... and maybe fall hard. Would it hurt? Of course. But that doesn't change my opinion. 

See, I think those breathing a sigh of relief right about now are quite short-sighted. Certainly, the pain is postponed. And, when you're talking about a dreadfully sick person, postponing the inevitable pain and death is a common sense option. But when you're talking about saving somebody from their stupid and risky behavior, not so much.

If, for example, my child were to do something dreadfully stupid in his teenage years and end up being arrested, the last thing I would do would be to run to his rescue and bail him out of the trouble he got himself into. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but in the long run, I think he would learn a better lesson by the natural consequences of his behavior. If I run and bail him out of trouble every time he gets into it, he's going to continue his reckless behavior. Same thing here. Thus, the parent doing the bailing is just as reckless as their child (perhaps showing a hereditary factor in the foolishness department). 

And in the case of the financial bailouts, the government is showing themselves to be just as stupid and reckless as the financial institutions that got into so much trouble. 

All this leads me to ask the question: If common sense is no longer a common thing, should we think about calling it something else?

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