Friday, January 9, 2009

When Will We Bailout of the Bailout?

Last evening, I listened to Neel Kashkar, the interim Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability, talk for an hour about the bank "bailout plan," and what I heard NOTHING concretely about loosening credit.

Mr. Kashkar kept talking about “confidence” in certain banks, such as "the Citi." Folks, this is talk for shareholders, not consumers. Nobody is running to the bank to withdraw their money. American consumers know there is no bank run. The notion we need to maintain “confidence” is a sham. What happened on the bailout is what we all expected. We gave money to banks, and they have kept it to pay off ongoing losses to hold stock prices. All of this talk about a bailout stimulating the economy was pure hokum crockery (bull feces in a bowl).

This is where I might differ from many of my Democratic colleagues, but I have difficulty supporting a bailout of any company or industry. It requires government to prioritize our industries, and given our current deficit, does anybody have confidence in our government's ability to make the right call on that one?

Other than the fact that Michigan has so many electoral votes and union members, what is so significant about auto versus other industries, such as pharmaceuticals and computer technology? If they start getting their butts kicked globally, will we be bailing them out next?

Why can't the arena football league get a bailout? You say, "Because it didn't employ as many people, and it's not essential to America." To which I say, yes, but a bailout of the arena football league probably wouldn't have cost as much as the auto and financial industry bailouts on a per job saved basis. AND if the Big Three went under, I can still get a car. In fact, what will happen is some entrepreneurs would start small companies that offer and market fuel-efficient American cars. This would be in stark contrast to an industry that basically ignored those technologies and advertising of its cars to get rich quick by offering and marketing zero percent financing on gas guzzling SUVs that people now regret owning. You want me to trust THAT to rebuild itself? Didn't we do this before, Lee Iacocca? How many times is enough?

So when Larry Flynt asks for a five billion dollar bailout for the porn industry, I say, "Why not?" Why should that industry be any different? If you count up people with webcams, it probably employs as many as the auto industry, and I've never heard ANYBODY say that Japanese porn is better than ours. U! S! A! U! S! A!


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