Washington D.C. has bailed out so many organizations lately that we should just change its name to Bucketville U.S.A. Here’s a short list:
- $100 billion to Freddie Mac
- $100 billion to Fannie Mae
- $300 billion to the FHA to refinance failing mortgages
- $85 billion for AIG
That’s almost $600 billion-with-a-b in the last few weeks. You can see a more complete list here.
I am admittedly completely naive when it comes to finance. I pretty much slept my way through my economics classes in college. But this just seems insane. Especially when you learn that AIG had A TRILLION DOLLARS in assets. (OK–I heard that bit about the assets on Jay Leno, so I can’t 100% vouch for its veracity.)
At the same time, both McCain and Obama have millions and millions of dollars at their disposal for thier campaigns. Money they’ll spend waste hurling mud at one another.
So here are my questions:
If the U.S. government has so many billions of dollars lying around why can’t it:
- feed hungry people living right here in the US?
- figure out universal health insurance?
- get people out of the FIMA trailers they’ve been living in since Katrina?
- cure dibilitating diseases?
- adequately fund after-school programs for at-risk children
And that’s just here at home.
I know I’m over-simplifying the situation. But it seems like there’s this unlimited amount of money to spend on things like the war in Iraq and the crisis-riddled financial situation. And it’s galling to know that some overly compensated CEOs out there are still being paid despite their bad judgement.
Some people say that this environment is a matter of Wall Street vs. Main St. But Main Street isn’t entirely without blame. Plenty of people out there bought houses they knew they couldn’t afford…lured in by risky financing…no money down or interest-only loans. So there’s blame on both sides.
Maybe the worst is over. Maybe the government won’t have to rescue anyone else. But I dread getting next month’s IRA and 401k statements. Maybe I just won’t look.