01 October 2008 ~ 3 Comments

Bail Out?

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Many conversations lately seem to center around politics and specifically the current economic issue.  So if y’all are talking about it around the water cooler, might as well weigh in with some thoughts at my proverbial water cooler.  Having not participated in a while, this post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday at Ethos this week.  Go see what others are talking about as well.

DISCLAIMER: I am quite ignorant to the real workings of the big picture economy, Wall Street, etc.  But I’m still fairly opinionated as usual.  So take these somewhat ignorant thoughts with that in mind.
All over the news, all over blogs, all over YouTube, people are constantly talking about where to place the blame for the current economic collapse.  I have two thoughts.
1.  How about us.  I’ve heard people blame Bush, Clinton, Democrats, Republicans, McCain, Obama, CEO’s, banks, area 51. OK, maybe not the last.  All of them eventually point to the credit situation, lenders, and a number of foreclosures.  But I have heard few talk about us or the borrowers.  It is easy to blame the banks.  And sure, I agree they shouldn’t have been allowing some of the loans they did.  But they are a business.  And ultimately, isn’t it up to us as individuals to be smart enough to not take out loans that we know we can’t pay in the long run?
How about our value systems and the load of manure we call “The American Dream.”  We are so fixated on having the best stuff now.  We have convinced ourselves that to be happy, we have to own a house and live comfortably.  Maybe the best way to prevent this from happening again is for us to change the way we see things.  To shift our value systems as a society.  Maybe if we learned how to spend within our means as a culture in the first place, and learned how to even give money away to those who needed it instead of expecting the government to take care of them, we would see a society that wouldn’t allow our greed to get the best of us.  I read a thought provoking quote from Bono over at Chris’s blog:

“It’s extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.”

I’m not sure I understand the mentality of asking “mom and dad” to “bail us out” whenever we get ourselves into a pinch.  Which takes me to thought #2…
2.  How bad is it?  Really? This will really ruffle some feathers, but I’m gonna go there anyway, again admitting that I don’t fully understand all the implications of the Global Economy.  But what I do know is that even today we are still one of the richest nations with the richest people (even you) in the world.  By no means am I even close to rich by our American standards, yet I sit here on my Macbook Pro at a local overpriced coffee shop writing this post.
I guess the reality is that part of me is getting tired of hearing how horrible we all have it over and over again.  I struggle with hearing people complain about how bad the economy is, even though I doubt a majority of those people “pinching pennies” are giving up their morning Starbucks run.  We sit in a building where we pay one person to prepare our food and another to serve it to us as we wonder how we’re going to pay rent next month.  Someone shared with me this week about a woman in line to buy a bunch of halloween decorations talking about how tough it was gonna be to make it this month with the state of the economy.  Perhaps it is our paradigm that needs to shift.  Maybe we need a new perspective on how blessed we really are in the grand scheme of things.
Am I saying there aren’t people out there in very difficult economic situations?  Absolutely not.  And I admit it’s easier to say all this when I’m not one of them.  But I am just sharing what I see when I look at the greater whole.  Maybe we need to live through some hard times, knowing that we’ll still be living at a much higher level than most of the world, and believing that things will come back even stronger in the long run.  Here is a really interesting article that Ryan sent me that definitely resonates with me.  Go read it and see what you think.
Long post, but those are my thoughts.  Now it’s your turn to try and set me straight.

3 Responses to “Bail Out?”

  1. Hoff 10 October 2008 at 11:40 pm Permalink

    Here’s a thought…..If everyone stopped pulling their money out of the stock market, then would it stop going down? Think about it people!

  2. Ryan Lipert 1 October 2008 at 7:18 pm Permalink

    How do you disagree with “live within your means” argument? This post is bullet proof, but it over simplifies the issue at hand. Do we do away with credit alltogether? Do we go back to cash only?
    I do agree that even in our struggling economy, we are still VERY blessed.

  3. Michelle Lasch 1 October 2008 at 1:40 pm Permalink

    I like what you have to say! Bailing out very rich corporations for making huge business mistakes runs counter to my sense of good judgement and accountability. I believe the message it sends would actually damage our economy far worse than a good dose of reality. Government trying to fix things led to the length and breadth of the Great Depression. Haven’t we learned anything?
    Your idea of holding those wanting bigger and better for less and less to a higher ideal is great. I wish our society would see the value of living within their means and being generous on top of that. It’d be a different world! As we reach people for Christ, I think we see their values change. That seems to me to be the best way to go forward from here.


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