Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our Elected Representatives

Hyman Rickover said:

"A certain measure of courage in the private citizen also is necessary to the good conduct of the State. Otherwise men who have power through riches, intrigue, or office will administer the State at will, and ultimately to their private advantage. For the citizen, this courage means a frank exposition of a problem and a decrying of the excesses of power."

Rickover’s words can be directly applied to the current financial situation. Congress, the people who are supposed to be representing us, has thrown its hands in the air and left the decision making to Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, both representatives of the banking industry.

And guess what? The banking industry’s bad debts have been transferred to the United States taxpayer. This happened first with Freddie-Fannie and next with AIG. The true cost of the AIG bailout is not the $85 billion. The true cost of the bailout is the fact that he taxpayer is now on the hook for 80% of all of the bad insurance policies that AIG used to be responsible for. This could be in the trillions, and most of it was not to be paid by Americans, it was to be paid by foreign investors. Oh, and the banks wrote themselves hundreds of billions in IOUs.

I will retain my belief that things happen for a reason, and that these events will prove to be a positive for the country. Given Medicare and general societal decline, the national credit rating was going away in any case. These events will accelerate that eventuality. The best thing that we, as private citizens, can do is be ready.

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