Saturday, March 29, 2008

“He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing”

Here is another maligned minority ready to blame others for its own actions, and expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill: “FORECLOSURE VICTIMS INVADE BEAR STEARNS HQ, PICKET JP MORGAN.” It’s not that our hearts do not go out to those people, but why should those not in foreclosure pay for another person’s poor judgment or even avarice?

Lost in the recent high stakes financial shenanigans are the savers, people who did not avail themselves of “easy money,” to buy homes beyond their economic reach. Or those who refused to be seduced by home equity loans to buy into the American dream of vacations, new cars, the easy, beautiful life which assaults us in an continuous loop on the media. Or those in retirement who are dependent on their savings and social security to see them through. They are everything our government is not: responsible, truthful, balancing their budgets at all costs.

How can we punish savers? Let’s start by giving them investment options based on chimerical ratings that are established by rating agencies paid by the very institutions they are rating. Then let’s ratchet down their income from CDs as we try to bail out an economy of credit excesses. Let helicopter dollars rain down on all [] to encourage more spending! But, that’s not enough; let their government take an unprecedented $29 billion dollar risk, ultimately at the taxpayer’s expense, to bail out the bond and equity holders of Bear Stearns (an action rationalized as needed to save our entire financial system). Let’s also talk about eliminating a more progressive graduated income tax in favor of a flat tax so, when savers spend their savings, which have already been taxed once when they were first earned, let’s tax them again via a national sales tax. While we’re at it, let’s also undermine the dollar and introduce inflation so their savings buy less. Then, finally, as social security benefits are adjusted by inflation, let’s artificially understate the real inflation rate to further erode their benefits!

What would Ben Franklin say today, “he that goes a-saving goes a-slaving?”