As I sit to write this column, our nation is grappling with our generation's greatest economic crisis. Many of you won't read these words until after Congress has voted on its $700 billion bailout package. I don't like the bailout, I don't want the bailout and I know there's a better solution.
Spending more than that on a nationwide bailout plan is a boondoggle. I don't disagree that it will hurt our economy if more banks fail. 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. Any good poker player knows when he has to get out of the game. I say it is time for the government to get out of the bailout game. The spring "tax pre-bate" plan was a failure and we have no assurances that this plan is any better.
I salute Sen. John McCain for suspending his campaign to solve this problem. I give praise to President George Bush and Sen. Barack Obama for making good faith attempts to steady this nation's financial ship. All of these men have made bold efforts, as have many of the members of Congress. Their efforts are honorable. It is their mindset that needs a correction. It is always easy to spend someone else's money. I want Congress to realize that it is not its money; it is my money - our money. Sure, they can write the check, but they are signing our names. I am asking them to put down the pen very slowly. Don't sign the check just yet - this might not be the only deal in town.
This week, one congressman put it best when he said, "Whether I am on a used car lot, or in the Capitol, when the deal has to be made this second, it probably isn't that good of a deal."
I used to sell used cars, and I would say that this congressman is probably right. I applaud the delegation of House Republicans who took time to look for alternative solutions to this economic crisis.
Earlier this week, a few renegade Republicans came up with a plan that would cost less than $1 trillion and doesn't make the government the largest player in the mortgage business. This plan addressed the root of today's economic woes, mortgage-backed securities. The plan calls for the government to provide $35 billion worth of insurance for the problematic mortgage-backed securities. This would allow the government to provide investor reassurance and eliminate the need for excess taxpayer money. Let's save ourselves the money - why not?
A few weeks ago, we talked about how freedom has become our nation's chief export. We have become the envy of the world not because of the power of our government, but because of the freedom we enjoy as individuals. One of these important freedoms is the freedom to consume. Unfortunately, many have taken advantage of this freedom, not respecting their burden to be responsible consumers.
Many in this nation chose to buy homes and cars they could not afford. In this crisis, banks cannot shoulder the entire blame, for the banks only fueled the ultimate culprit. We borrowed too much, we made too little and we did not pay our bills. The only real solution to this problem is to raise our children to be more financially literate than our parents. If you have more thoughts about financial literacy or the bailout proposals, please e-mail me or write this paper.