Thursday, October 2, 2008

Boot Straps and Safety Nets, Redux

Over the past few months the Voice has written a few times about Safety Nets versus Boot Straps.

The Bush administration ideology is all about Boot Straps; reach down, pull them up, "get yourself up dust yourself off and start all over again", as Frank Sinatra sang. Admirable qualities to be sure. It's the mantra, the mission statement, of the Bush economic model; you're own your own.

Trouble is, it's more often true that "thems what has, gets".

Sometimes the dust is more like quick sand. It's hard to shake stuff off when you can't get up. That's the struggle homeowners are facing today. People who have fallen into deep trouble, often through no or little fault of their own, need a Safety Net. It's people who are the country, not the banks.

The Safety Net that is being woven today is not the one the Voice had in mind. It's designed to catch and save the banks and the narcissists who ran them and themselves into the quick sand, through clear and obvious faults of their own.

Most of the journalists whom I have respected over time have come out in favor of this bailout as being essential to the salvation of the people who have been or stand to be hurt the most. The advice seems to be to hold one's nose and support it. That now seems to be happening. So good for now as far as it goes.

The next president will have an overflowing plate, but one of the most urgent needs is to reestablish regulations over the fancy, arcane, practices and debt instruments being bought, sold and traded without constraint or concern for accountability.

Games played without rules and the referees to enforce them are not contested on a level playing field.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

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