So what really caused nation's econmic mess?

October 05, 2008|By LLOYD "PETE" WATERS

As I sat stunned watching the news and listening to our government formulate a financial bailout of $700 billion dollars with a resulting debt in excess of $5 trillion dollars, I wondered how all of this could be happening.

Maybe the scenario went a little like this ...


"Hey Hon, why don't we go and buy a large house and then sell it later, make a profit and build our dream retirement home. "Sweetheart, that's a great idea, the developers have just converted that farmland and there is a house for $450,000 there just waiting for us. I hear there are some neat loans from the banks and mortgage companies where we just pay the interest rates, which will keep our payments down. We'll even have a room for the dog."

Banker & Mortgage

Company CEOs:

"Well, business is a little slow, but since they are paying me all those big bucks, I think I'll formulate a plan to make a bunch of money. Besides there are no regulations to prevent me from being creative. I think I will float a bunch of loans, permit the homebuyers to pay only the interest and there will be a good many suckers out there to take advantage of my generosity. In the event they go bankrupt, we will own the homes. Great idea!


We'll keep our lobbyistfriends working on those politicians with a few gifts, dinners, vacations and home improvements here and there and they won't be in any rush to regulate our industry. Let's make some bucks while the fire is hot ...

Our government:

Darn, what's happening to this whacky economy? Our friends Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Leahman Brothers, AIG, the auto industry, etc., are going under and we have to throw them a life jacket to save the day. I'm beginning to have second thoughts about our lobby friends asking us to avoid regulatory oversight. The web of this spider has the whole country in a bad spot. How do we get out of this?

I know, let's float some $700 billion out there to rescue our friends and the taxpayer can take care of the $5 trillion dollar debt later. We can't be too hard on our lobbyist friends after all, they give us some good gifts oops, maybe I'm not suppose to say that!

"If we don't want to tax the American citizens maybe we can sell some of these companies' assets to the Chinese or our friends in Saudi Arabia..

The American Citizen:

"Just look at what those stupid home buyers did they're only paying the interest on their mortgage. Can you believe that? Buying a $450,000 house and only paying the interest. Bet the darn dog even has a room.

"Those high salaried, incompetent CEOs have really done it to us this time. They should lock are those people up and take their assets!

"Didn't you use to go to jail for robbery? This can't be much different! Uncle Sam will bail them out for their foolishness. If we're going to reward bad behavior, why lock up the robber? Let's give him a few billion and ask him politely not to rob any more banks? What a joke! Where exactly are we headed? What will my taxes be next year?"

Pete Waters:

Well, you're seeing some of the best politicians at work here, aren't we? I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them. Plato once suggested that "until philosophers are kings, cities will never rest from their evils". When I survey the political landscape for just one wise philosopher to help us with our problems, I am sorry to say I can't find any of them occupying our halls of Congress. Wisdom seems to avoid that place for some reason.

I guess as I ponder further the question of "what caused this economic mess?" I might consider a few questions and answers provided by Mark Twain.

"What is the chief end of man?

"To get rich."

"In what way?"

"Dishonestly if we can, honestly if we must."

Yep, all the involved parties must have read that line for sure.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a southern Washington County resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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