I don’t claim to be an expert in economics. Wall Street has always been a somewhat fuzzy image for me. I tend to think of it as I would, say…Camelot or Atlantis. You know, places that sound really cool and magnificent, yet are somehow not on the route of my destiny.
All the same, I tried to pay attention in school during economics and civics class. One thing I learned is that a free-market economy is the best system for growing and managing the wealth of nations. Free enterprise stimulates growth, allows someone with little or nothing to work hard and prosper and it also provides a money machine that is self-correcting.
I also paid attention in history class. I learned that once government gets involved in something, it seldom, if ever gets uninvolved. Occasionally this is a good thing, but more often than not it leads to unnecessary restrictions, and somehow, less money in the pockets of taxpayers.
This leads me to my title question, is this happening too fast? You’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about the proposed financial bailout. I’ve heard many pundits say with sad resignation, “Something must be done.” All eyes seem to turn to Washington where opinions are like armpits–everybody has two and under close scrutiny both of them smell funny.
Honestly, I’m still playing catch-up on this issue, but I get the idea that perhaps Congress is as well. As I peruse this situation, however, there are some thoughts that keep emerging from the fog.
First, this situation can be traced to one problem: greed. It is nothing but greed that caused some to abuse the opportunities of the free-market system. As my brother recently said in a conversation we were having about this topic, no system will be better than the people who are in it. What we are seeing is not a failure of the system, it is a failure of human character.
Second, I hate to see the government get involved. While it has been somewhat refreshing to see the bi-partisan effort at helping Americans out of this mess, we are looking at scenario where the government is about to buy a $700,000,000,000 slice of the American economic pie. Anybody who pays that much for something is going to feel obligated to keep it. I can’t help but feel that this is going to bring us much closer to the brink of socialism.
Is the banking business the only one to be this close to imploding? What about health care? What about energy? What about insurance? The problems of the banking sector will doubtless cause ripples that touch these other industries. If they begin to cave, will the government attempt to nationalize them as well? I can’t help but feel that this bailout may be establishing a dangerous precedent.
Again, I’m no expert. These are just questions that I have about this situation. Maybe I’m wrong–I certainly hope I am.
I do know one thing, I’m glad I know the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns the hills, also. As a country boy, I can’t help but think that He owns the ‘taters in the hill, too.