23 September 2008

Brother, can you spare $700 billion?

The following is an only mildly sarcastic note I sent to my Congresspeople* yesterday. If you'd like to send one, too, you can go to VoteNoBailout.org for a quick and easy method (including a prewritten letter, if you don't have time to write one of your own).

Note: Feel free to reuse my letter below for writing your own representatives, if you're so inclined.


I'm writing to register my feelings on the massive bailout package proposed by the Bush Administration and currently being considered by Congress.

The people controlling the giant banks that run our financial system knowingly put themselves, and the rest of us by extension, in position for this disaster for the sake of making increasingly huge profits for over a decade.

Let them use some of these riches they made to bail themselves out, and save the people's money for those of us who don't have such resources to dig ourselves out.

If these corporations didn't have a contingency plan to avoid bankruptcy, then they're no better than the homeowners so derided lately for signing on to mortgages they couldn't afford to pay.

Of course, it would seem that the banks' first-level backup may have been to get the Bush administration to use its still-impressive power to publicly bully and belittle politicians into going along with whatever they demand, in this case a free pass to tear up the piles of IOUs the bankers wrote without any ability to back up.

Why are "socialist" programs and efforts only acceptable to Republicans when the beneficiaries are huge corporations and wealthy individuals? They spend all their time when profits are up preaching about the simple beauty of capitalism-- they can use some time dealing with the less fun side of it now. I'd hate to incite what would normally be a huge outrage for them by encouraging the "government to interfere with the free market."

Whether this bailout money goes to them or not, we're all on our own to sort through the effects of their unchecked greed and irresponsibleness, barring whatever assistance to individuals the government decides to offer. That assistance is much less likely to be substantial once this incredible sum of money, pulled from who-knows-where**, is gone.

Please vote No to Bush's Bailout, and instead urge these people to use all their business school training and financial intelligence to sort things out for themselves, so the rest of us can get a helping hand as needed from our representatives in government.

I hear there's $700 billion dollars just laying around in our emergency fund-- maybe we could use that?

Thank you for your time.

* Which includes, of course, the Distinguished Gentleman From Illinois currently running for president.

** I know where-- China!***

*** No, I didn't include any footnotes in the e-mail itself. But I should have.


Irrational Dad said...

WHOA whoa whoa whoa whoa.... what exactly are you trying to say here? Are you suggesting that the Government already has too much power/control and doesn't need any more? *end sarcasm*

My letter has been submitted. Luckily, my congressman is a Democrat, so I stand a chance of being heard.

Mrs. B. Roth said...


Wait until Orrin Hatch (R-Senator UT) reads this!! I'm sure he'll vote for his constituents!

When I read the title I thought - we need to stop whining and start demanding the bums listen to us and obey!

You're inspiring!

Now, if they could do something about day light savings time too ...

steenky bee said...

After the "aid" to AIG I was a little surprised to know that I own an insurance company now. I'm with you on this one. Beautifully written.

Goldfish said...

Well-put, and that's about all that can be said about this disaster. But a funny related site: buymysh*tpile.com. (It doesn't really have an asterisk in the title.)

Kevin McKeever said...

This is the most reasonable solution yet. As a laidoff employee from the homebuilding world, I know well of what you speak.

Anonymous said...

Footnotes are becoming your signature thing, LD! That and whoring all the comments! HA

Kat said...

I would email to my representative, but last time I did I got a form letter back. Of course my rep is the Lindsay Graham of SC (R) and is going to stand with John McCain on anything (they are buddies like that). While I am a crazy conservative, I think this whole idea stink and I think most other conservatives do as well. I know I heard Laura Ingram railing against it yesterday on the radio while I was taking LaLa to preschool.

People in the Sun said...

I wish I knew anything about this stuff. I just can't do it. It's like physics class in high school, where my teacher said the air condition was being wasted on me.

I'm trying, don't get me wrong. But I don't get it. Maybe that's why I'll always be poor.

Pregnantly Plump said...

I couldn't agree more. I so hope our congresspeople listen to us!

Rikki said...

If I had a vote I would send this. Maybe I will pester the husband to.

Thanks LD. Nothing like a little social studies to get my brain a' churnin'!

Kori said...

Yeah! You go.

Ali said...

I have to thank you for providing more info on this bail out situation. I only get 30 minutes of NPR on the drive to and from school before the spongebob marathon begins everyday.

What's funny is that this is making gas prices go up. I'm beginning to think that everything is making the gas prices go up: the premiere of Dancing With The Stars, eating oatmeal instead of cereal, doing laundry on Sunday instead of Monday, etc.

Laski said...

700 Billion. 700 Billion.

Take away all the zeros and that's about what I have saved for J's college fund.

Nice. Real nice . . .

Ian said...

The whole AIG bailout is also unfair to AIG's competitors who perhaps did not rake in the profits and new customers that AIG did because they were more sensible in the way they ran their business.

Anonymous said...

That letter is brilliant! I could never have said all of that as well as you--I'm copying it, I'm sending it ASAP! Thanks! :)

Meg said...

Agreed, it's brilliant. I say they use the billions in bonuses the Wall Street brokers got recently for the bailout.

LiteralDan said...

Joe: You fool! You NEVER end sarcasm in the middle of a rant!! FYI, life=rant.

Democrats, Schmemocrats. That party and I have an uneasy alliance, for the time being.

Mrs. B. Roth: Oooh, THE Orrin Hatch?? I'll always think of Chris Rock's bit mentioning him. If you don't know it, go track down Chris Rock's Bigger and Blacker somewhere. You won't be sorry.

I'm glad to inspire you. Hopefully the right people out there find the right kind of inspiration somewhere, soon.

jenboglass: Yeah, I'm trying to decide which office is mine. I'm going to start stirring the pot by actually approving claims.

At least the AIG aid means that the government is a shareholder. This proposed aid package is written up to be no strings attached, and not subject to review or audit by anyone. They actually wrote these things down!

Goldfish: Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. That is hilarious and beautiful.

Everyone else: Check out BuyMyShitpile.com, at least just for a five-second glance at the main page, for a wonderful satire of the situation we're in.

Still laughing.

Always Home and Uncool: Really? I'm the most reasonable person for once?? I never thought I'd see the day.

It's bittersweet, I gotta tell you.

MamaNeena: I have definitely given myself over to my deep appreciation of using footnotes to include the asides that define my thinking patterns.

The comments I can't explain. I guess the commenters have just been noticing I developed early...

Kat: I don't know what you could say that would net you anything BUT a form letter from a Senator, so don't feel too bad.

Yeah, I think most true conservatives (I'm conservative on some things but "liberal" on most) must be against this, at least as they've outlined it, so we should all be able to unite to demand a better way.

It's the Republican politicians who are the problem. There's a big difference, which I wish now I'd noted with an extra word or two.

People in the Sun: I like that line from your teacher (physics is one of my favorite subjects), though I know how you feel. We all have stuff like that.

But I'm sure you could get at least the basics of what's going on if you found a straightforward, non-expert explanation somewhere. I can always share my understanding of it if you're ever interested (cue crickets chirping, I'm sure).

Pregnantly Plump: Or at least the Congresspeople's people, right?

Rikki: Do you not have a vote because you're a Canadian citizen? I remember your parents live up there, so now that I think about it, it makes sense.

But don't you get citizenship after a certain point when you marry a citizen? Or is there more paperwork and rigamarole?

Kori: I do! Or will. I'm not sure whether that should be classified as a statement or a command. Thanks either way. ;-)

ali: 30 minutes of NPR is a gift-- consider yourself lucky.

You are correct, I think-- the oil speculators are scared and only slightly less clueless than the rest of us, so pretty much everything (at least these days) will make them drive the price up. "There's too much oil!" "Oh, no!! Buy, buy!!! ... Wait, what?"

Laski Gal: You've got me beat there. I need a new financial strategy, besides waiting for ad clicks so I can buy worthless mortgages for pennies on the dollar.

Vanilla: Absolutely, I want to hear that refrain more than I have. I added a link in my "Of Interest to Me" section to a Motley Fool article that mentions this.

We're just teaching the precious few companies/executives who bucked the industry trend all this time and kept an even keel, doing business responsibly, that they were naive and the maniacs were right, because they're gonna be raking in free cash and bonuses, and being rescued to do business another day. This will (because you know it's happening) have terrible consequences for decades.

Christy: Well, thanks-- hopefully collectively we can have some tiny effect somewhere in Congress.

Meg: That's a whole separate can of worms, but I agree-- only in a perfect world.

Sass Pizzazz said...

I know I'm a couple days late to this party, but I just wanted to say: this, among other recent economic events, is why I feel my jaw drop when people suggest that it's a good idea to leave everyone's health care and retirement entirely in the hands of The Almighty Market. To me, that's like saying that since the wilds of Africa resulted in the evolution of the most sophisticated species on the planet, therefore we all ought to let our children be raised by leopards. Or something. I'm young, I don't know any better.

Michael from dadcation.com said...

I heard this package will cost those of us who pay taxes (i.e., not the 40% of wage earners who don't) over $300k each.

that's nice.

LiteralDan said...

hello_dali: The beauty of a blog, my friend, is that the party is always happening, so there is no such thing as being late. I'm glad you left your comment anyway.

Only two kinds of people advocate "pure" capitalism: people who haven't really thought about what it means, and people who've already made their billions and can buy whatever protections they would need from roving bands of starving, poisoned hobos (i.e. the rest of us) and violently hostile takeovers (i.e. whatever companies are left just before there's only one giant behemoth of a supercorporation).

muskrat: $300K each? Hmmmm... who knows-- I just read a quote from a Treasury Department spokesperson to Forbes magazine saying that they don't have any realistic basis for the $700 billion figure, they just "wanted to choose a really large number."

I guess we won't know how much it costs until they're done giving out whatever amount of money each vaguely finance-related company in America (and abroad, yes, abroad-- sad but true) says it "needs".


I. Adore. This.

LiteralDan said...

Glad to be of service!