Checking the barn door

I actually received this e-mail on Thursday, but the National Taxpayers Union insists that we have “No More Bailouts!”

Are you tired of hearing about how your tax dollars are going to bail out government-sponsored enterprises and private institutions? We are.

Did you send your hard-earned money to the IRS to cover the fiscal mismanagement at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, and AIG? We didn’t.

Do you like the sound of a new $25 billion bailout for big auto companies? We don’t.

It’s time to say “enough is enough!” Sign our “No More Bailouts” petition to Congress and the President today.

Unless people like you speak out, there’s no end in sight to this abuse of taxpayer dollars. Act today!

The sentiment was originally written by Kristina Rasmussen at the Government Bytes blog I link to. But she’s right, we have to be ever-vigilant about OUR money, particularly in this time of economic slowdown.

This is what the petition reads; it’s sent to the White House, your state’s Senators, and your Representative (in my case Cardin, Mikulski, and Gilchrest respectively. Actual results may vary.)

As a taxpaying American, I demand an end to the public bailouts of government-sponsored enterprises and private institutions.

America’s economic success is largely due to our free-market system, in which risk is a fundamental element. Some businesses succeed tremendously, some fail spectacularly. But they should do so on their own, not with the backing of millions of reluctant citizens’ paychecks.

If troubled institutions seek relief, they should restructure their businesses the way millions of families have had to restructure their budgets, rather than bellying up to Congress’ trough.

Bailouts that keep mismanaged organizations afloat delay natural corrections to unsound business practices. In the long run, bailouts do not “rescue” anyone because they stall the adoption of necessary reforms that would prevent future repeats of bad choices.

Enough is enough. No more bailouts. Not with my tax dollars.

So I signed the petition, but I was only signer number 3,492 which tells me that there are too many people who just nod their head in agreement when it’s said that this is necessary to save the financial markets. More alarming to me are those who say, “yeah, the government needs to step in – but this has to be the last time!” There is no last time if we do it this time, because something like this will happen again. When unscrupulous people get to play with other peoples’ money and they find out they can get wealthy beyond their dreams, they’ll continue to game the system regardless of whatever laws are passed. Thus, I’m not sure regulations are the answer and the argument has been posed in many quarters that regulations have led to this mess in the first place. In fact, regulations are the reason the automakers want their bailout, to comply with more stringent CAFE standards.

While we may be well beyond a tipping point in both this situation and regarding government in general, the fight needs to be continued – even if it is a rear-guard action – against adopting more and more red tape which both strangles initiative and keeps millions of paper-pushers doing busy work. The way I look at this situation, it’s not lack of regulation which led to this crisis but the collision of the lack of ethics in some and the lack of common sense in others. We’re just left to clean up the mess.

On a completely different note…

Overnight on Friday night I will be one of the hundreds of participants in Wicomico County’s annual Relay For Life. It’s the first time I’ve done this, but last year at this time I had no inkling that a family member of mine would be afflicted with cancer so that makes it personal for me.

One thing that I like about how this works is that I don’t need to get pledges or even collect money (although I can and will with a select group of people) – instead it’s as simple as visiting this webpage and making a donation. I just set it up the other day with my own money to get the ball rolling, but you can help the effort too if you have a few dollars to spare. I know we’re all not living in Fat City here, but you probably have a similar story someplace in your family too. I’m just going to spend part of my Friday night at Perdue Stadium as I’ve done many times before, just without a ballgame to watch.

If you’re there Friday night, I’ll be the guy with the purple #18 Shorebirds jersey on – the Relay for Life 2007 jersey I purchased. Little did I know that months later their cause would hit home.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

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