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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Column: Bank bailout is socialism

Marcus Bowen

Nov. 17, 2008

It's been seven weeks since we last discussed the economy. Seven weeks ago, Congress was deep in deliberation about the $700 billion bank bailout plan. At the time, I called the bailout plan a boondoggle and I encouraged both presidential candidates to work with President Bush and congressional leaders to find a more responsible solution to the financial crisis.

I still believe what I said just a few weeks ago: "The failure of a few banks doesn't even begin to compare to the catastrophe that would ensue if the bailout plan fails and the government has already thrown a trillion of our dollars down a sinkhole." 

Just for those who are keeping track, this is the second financial bailout plan of 2008, and it's on track to be a major failure. Just as the tax pre-bates from earlier this year, this bailout plan is another bipartisan publicity stunt and a grand waste of taxpayer money. Sure, the stock market can be scary at times, but the only thing worse than problems in the market is a government trying to "solve" the market's problems. 

Milton Friedman was right when he said, "the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem." This $700 billion bank bailout plan was only the beginning of a landslide of requests for the government to solve the financial problems of private corporations. In the past few weeks Ford, Chrysler and GM have joined the airlines in requesting government bailouts to solve the financial woes of their corporations. With the newest bailout requests from AIG, the company is poised to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States federal government.

It seems as if every day more corporations are stretching out their hands, insisting they need taxpayer money to continue operations. Republicans in Congress and the current Republican president have quickly complied with the requests of banks and insurance companies. Now, it seems that the same group of Republican congressional leaders are again running to the aid of more failing corporations. Apparently, many Congressional Republicans have decided that welfare, while wrong for poor people, is just fine for rich business owners.

Ten years ago, the Republican Party campaigned to end the welfare state. Our party was not the party of handouts, but of helping hands. Like most Republicans, I believe that our society needs a safety net, but we should never give free money to people who can work for themselves. I am outraged that Republican leaders in congress have stood idly by and allowed the creation of an entirely new welfare state. Not welfare for the needy - this is welfare for the greedy.

I have never learned from success; it is failure that teaches us how to improve ourselves. A coach once told me that never losing means never learning. When the government gives free money to failing companies, it subsidizes failure. The companies argue that we can't live without their products and that their layoffs will devastate our communities. Yet, businesses in America have been failing for more than 200 years and our economy has yet to fail. Jobs are important and American products are important, but at what cost?

These bailouts have started our nation down the dismal path of socialism. As more failing companies request taxpayer dollars, I urge Congress to remember that the freedom to succeed comes with the responsibility to learn from failure.

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