Here’s another way to think about the pending federal bailout of Wall Street. Imagine that you are wage earner who lived your entire working life is utter distrust of banks and the stock market.
Every time you got a paycheck, you cashed it — and stuffed the bills into a mattress. You never bought a house. You only rented.
You did this for years because you didn’t anyone to meddle with your money. People laughed at you. After all, without bank interest or the return from stocks and bonds, inflation was killing the value of your money. And renting? That was stupid because hey, that meant you could never deduct the taxes and interest on a home mortgage.
You didn’t care. It was your money and no one was going to touch it, except you. Then one day, the Wall Street house of cards collapsed. And the federal government decides it wants to bail out the high-flying investment banks with a blank check to be filled out in the amount of $700 billion or more.
That means they’re going to take your money, without your consent, and invest it in worthless securities on the vague premise that maybe some day, but nobody knows when, the junk securities will be worth more than the paper it’s printed on. In other words, you are an investor, an owner really, of busted brokerage houses– whether you like it or not. This bailout is going to cost the average American family $5,000 and maybe more, according to some estimates I’ve heard.
The greedy executives on Wall Street broke the system, and while they want you to fix it with your tax money, THEY STILL WANT TO RETAIN OWNERSHIP, AND PROFIT FROM OWNERSHIP.
So here’s what Congress should do. If the taxpayers are footing the bill than the people should profit from the investment. Just like there’s no such thing as being slightly pregnant, there’s no such thing as half-way nationalization. If this bailout deal goes through, then the Wall Street firms being saved are no different than national parks, which we, the people, own. All of us.
The Woody Guthrie song applies. This land is your land, this land is my land. Only change the lyrics. This bank is your bank, this bank is my bank…