Our Horrible Economy

This is from my TIAA-CREF retirement account (and it’s the one in the best shape – it’s also the only one that conveniently lets me know how much I’ve contributed total:

My Total Retirement Saving Assets: $6,509.95
Net Life-to-Date Contributions: $7356.20

Do we really need another argument for why private investment accounts are a bad idea as a replacement for social security?  I would have done better to have taken the money and put it in my mattress!  (And a lot better to have stuck it in my Pay Pal account and let is accrue interest for the last several years!

Now – this is not to knock TIAA-CREF, all of my retirement accounts are down, the last few months have not been kind.  I just want to point out the importance of having some kind of cushion that is not related to the vagaries of the market.  The amount of money I’ll be getting from Social Security in the end has not changed!  It’s not a lot, but it’s there.  I expect that money to be available for me in the future – if it isn’t, then we probably have far worse problems to deal with.

Let’s change tack a little and discuss bailouts.  Evidently, the banks receiving the money don’t actually know what they’re doing with it. Or refuse to discuss what they’re doing with it – no suprise since  some of that money has evidently gone to pay for private jets, chauffers, and big bonuses for the thieves that got us into this mess.

Enough.  Lewis Black finally understood why the French cut off Marie Antoinette’s head when he heard about:

A father and two sons ran a company named Adelphia, and one day they reached into petty cash and pulled out a billion dollars.  Again, that’s three people and one billion dollars — each…  It’s shocking to me that the people working for that company did not rise as one and slay them.  I, for one, now fully understand why the French cut off Marie Antoinette’s head.

— Lewis Black from Nothing’s Sacred

I wonder what Mr. Black will have to say about the bailout?  Hopefully, for I find him to be incredibly funny and insightful, this will not cause him to have a stroke!

The executives at those businesses receiving part of the bailout giving themselves bonuses while presiding over their companies that, under their direction, were doing so poorly as to need bailing out is far worse than mere embezzlement or fraud.  It is such an abuse of all of us that we really should strip them of everything that they own.

I have often heard it said that executives make the big bucks because they take the big risks.  Fine – but what is the actual risk they take?  I have never heard of a CEO ending up on the street because he made a bad decision.  Never.  But I have heard far too many stories of CEOs making bad decisions, then leaving the demolished company with their bonuses in pocket.

Now we have executives who are doing such a bad job running companies that the government has to step in and give them nearly a trillion dollars, we have these executives giving themselves the perks and bonuses as though they were doing a great job!

Enough.

When will we, as a people, stand up and say, enough?  When will we say to these greedy, greedy people, “no”?  Given how poorly the economy is working for the bulk of Americans, why not just let it fail?  If the free market is such hot stuff, why is it failing at all?

Right – I’d better stop here before I give myself a stroke!

Next up – some ideas on how we can change things.

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