Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It's not my fault!

OK, here's the problem with partisan politics. It is based on placing blame, the notion that everything bad that happens in government is the fault of the other party.

Somehow, fans of talk radio and other doctrinaire Republicans have managed to conclude that this $700 billion dollar mortgage bailout is the fault of the Democratic congress. In the bizarro world of right-wing commentary, the greed-based actions of capitalists running amok were caused by a liberal mindset in Washington.


Here are my uninformed citizen suggestions:

Require any politician who votes for this deal to contribute an additional $2,300 from his or her own money.

Require the executives of any institution that receives or will receive federal bailout funding to pony up the personal profits -- pay, options, benefits, whatever -- from their last two years of business.

Set up some kind of government authority to help homeowners whose houses are too big and expensive for their budgets find and trade down to smaller dwellings or rental properties. While we Americans do not want to put anybody out on the street, we are not willing to subsidize those whose eyes were larger than their wallets. These people may be victims of unscrupulous mortgage lenders, but now they can use a dose of reality. It may not be necessary to set up a whole new bureaucracy, just to increase funding and support to local housing services.

We are generous people. Just don't ask us to eat beans so we can afford the bill for someone else's steak.

And stop babbling about whose fault this is. Years ago, a very smart person (my mother) gave me the following analogy:

A bunch of people -- probably a family -- is sitting at the table eating dinner. Somehow, and no one really sees how it happened, a glass of milk gets knocked over and milk starts running all over the table, into the serving dishes, and on to the floor. How do you react? Do you (1) engage in a big argument and discussion about whose fault it is that the milk spilled, in order to ascertain who should have to clean it up, while that spilled milk spreads? Or do you (2) quietly and quickly work together to clean up the mess and then finish eating?

In option one, everybody's dinner is ruined and you may or may not find out who accidentally tipped over the milk. But choose in option two, and everybody gets to complete their pleasant meal.

So how about we just wipe up the milk.

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