Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Smarty Pants: The Bailout

Why is it easier to remember which Hollywood starlet recently had a baby that it is to remember the names of world leaders?

Because news is boring, right?  Wrong.  
Be a smarty pants.  It's fun.

Since Smarty Pants is about current events, and I'm currently writing about budgeting, it seems natural for my first post to address the SKY is FALLING financial events of late (otherwise known as the Bailout Plan).  

I spent a great deal of time yesterday reading about the bailout plan, including the actual plan itself (okay, so maybe I didn't get through the entire 107 page document...even I'm not that ambitious!), and my feelings for it are, well, a bit muddled.  I mean, far be it for me to promote inaction and have the bottom drop out of the economy like they ("they" being a variety of economists and pundits) say it will.  On the other hand, it is an awful lot of money, and it does give the Secretary of Treasury an awful lot of power, and we're not even sure if it will work.

So what's a girl to think?
Well, I'm no expert, but here are my considerations as of late:
1.  our economic system is sick.  And contrary to popular political rhetoric, it's not just sick because of so-and-so's poor political judgement.  Our economy is sick because it is based on the premise that health and stability = exceeding our means.  In other words, it feeds too much on debt (aka "credit").  
2.  this bailout plan, regardless of its merits, does not intend to fix this debt-addiction.  In fact, it aims to do just the opposite.
3.  However, fixing the debt-addiction all at once would likely collapse the system
4.  And therefore the bailout plan might be a necessarily evil  

Finally, economic responsibility starts at home.  Or, at least that is the only area where we (we being the average consumer) can exercise any substantial control.  I've been forced to ask myself some tough questions lately, like how tempted am I to use debt to "get ahead"?  And how often do I spend when I should be saving?  

Granted, no amount of personal responsibility and heart-to-hearts will stop this national (really, global) drama from unfolding without pain.  And it would be trite to suggest otherwise.  But part of understanding current events is knowing how they can impact the decisions we make at the family level.  And I know my decisions need to change.

To read more about the plan:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin