A(n im)Modest Proposal.

Jonathan Swift, 1667 – 1745

Jonathan Swift, 1667 – 1745

With apologies to Jonathan Swift, I have my own modest proposal for the Bailout Bucks Sweepstakes. 


I think the government should write me a check. (And every other taxpayer for that matter.) 

Think of it this way…if the government is going to start bailing out every Tom, Dick and CEO, why not me? And you? I run a small ad agency in Amarillo. Like most people today, money’s tight. I have bills to pay. Fortunately, I didn’t do anything dumb like buy a house out of my price range, or rack up a huge debt for capital equipment I couldn’t afford. But because of some unexpected expenses (medical, family, business), I’ve got very little cushion left. We did all the right things – saved every penny we could, made extra house payments when we could, stopped buying non-essential things. Still, it doesn’t take much to shoot one giant hole in our savings parachute. Mind you, I’m not whining or complaining. At all. In fact, I think we are some of the lucky ones. Mrs. Digital and I are gainfully employed. We have a roof over our heads, and food in the refrigerator. We are self-reliant, and if we screw up, we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves. 

So here’s my plan…the government gives each taxpayer an equal share of that $700 Billion windfall. I figure we’d each get somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. I’d immediately pay off my wife’s car, and all our monthly debt I could. I’d refinance my house (if anybody’s lending – but with that much money in the economy, they probably would). Then I’d bank whatever’s left, and invest it in my business. 

Before you dismiss this idea as hyperbole or satire, it actually has a lot to recommend it. First of all, if you give only TAXpayers the money, it’s really more of a rebate than a gift. Even better, nobody then has a right to gripe – everybody becomes responsible for their own success (or failure). Admittedly, some people will screw up the windfall. They’ll gamble it away, waste it, or something stupid like that. But I believe many more will use it to avert financial disaster (especially because if everybody got it, you can be sure that the bill collectors would be first in line to get their pound of flesh). 

So why not? Let the corporations live or die on their own ability to manage themselves. The government, after all, is not supposed to be of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. It’s We the People – not We the CEOs and Union Chiefs. Think of it. With $50 to $100K in the bank for each taxpayer, all the bad debt gets paid off first. Then people have discretionary income to inject into the economy once again. Banks would be willing to lend – virtually every taxpayer would instantly become a legitimate risk. Mortgage companies and leaseholders would once again be solvent. And all would be right with the world. 

A little too rose-colored glass-ish? Sure. But then again, anybody that thinks that giving the Big Three CEOs $85 billion is going to turn those businesses around is way past the rose-colored glasses stage – they are in full tilt dementia. We’ve given bailout bucks to AIG – only to see that they’ve spent it on pricy executive retreats to resorts most of us will never have the dough to visit. And the bailout money that’s gone to Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae has not opened up the home loan sluices to date. Since bailing out the corporations is obviously NOT working, why not try my plan?

[As an aside, I was frankly a little floored today, when the Dems hit the microphones to tell the Big Three “no plan – no money.” They got it almost right. They should have said “no plan AND no labor concessions – no money,” but you can hardly blame them…the unions are their biggest fans.]

Seriously, I’d rather see Obama cut taxes, do some sort of moratorium on foreclosures, and tell the CEOs to go fish, but since self-reliance and personal/corporate responsibility seems to be out of style and bailouts are the order of the day, why not put the money where it will do some good? It’s either that, or I’m going to incorporate myself, rack up some massive debt, and then hitch a ride to D.C. to get on the Congressional Gravy Train.

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