OK. New day… new bowl of confusion. Maybe you folks can help me out. I just read a couple of articles outlining some newer, local laws that are being strictly enforced, I assume for the good of all mankind. One is here in Massachusetts. A small town called Holliston is now at its limit, (for you moms out there, that means they’ve ‘had it up to here!’) regarding offenders of its helmet law for cyclists, and rollerbladers. While I think it’s a good idea for kids 16 and under to wear a helmet, I think it’s the parent’s job to see to it, not the town counsel. But that’s beside the point… Now, to further enforce this law, the Police, charged with public safety, law, and order, will now add taking Johnny’s bike away to their list of daily hazardous duties. How embarrassing to be in your cruiser responding to a call, siren wailing, lights flashing… with a pink Schwinn hanging out of your trunk. You can’t make this stuff up!
The other article was about Riviera Beach, Florida where the police are making sure its citizens are adhering to its ‘droopy pants’ law. People are not allowed to have more than 4” of their underwear showing. I wonder if the police have to carry little tape measures on their belts. Do these guys with their pants down on their hips look stupid? Of course! But as Americans, isn’t it our right to look as stupid as we want? I could see if they were wearing red fuzzy thongs, or God forbid it was laundry day forcing them to go commando… But they are pretty much just showing boxers. I saw a girl at the market the other day wearing a pair as shorts. And what of bikinis? Pretty much bra and panties for the beach, no? (That was merely for comparison… I fully support a woman’s right to wear as little as she wants…) Where was I… Oh yeah. For a third offense, you can be locked up for this. Yes – jailed! Holliston offers free helmets if you don’t have one, Shouldn’t Florida offer belts? I for one am much more offended by women who abuse the limits of spandex at a physical, and molecular level, and by white guys with dread locks. Where’s the justice there? Should we hand out free mirrors?
What got me on that silly little tangent is the current debacle on Wall Street. It kills me how we tend to focus so much effort on so fervently enforcing these little laws on little people, but will bail out big, powerful corporations which, in their extremely risky pursuit of a quick and very profitable turnaround, destroyed thousands of families, have spun our economy into turmoil, and will ultimately cost us taxpayers billions. These big lenders offered mortgage deals to people who did not qualify for loans, and would therefore sign up for anything for the chance to own their own home. It’s the American dream. Who wouldn’t go for that?
What happened was… When the rates were lowered after 2001, central banks made a lot of money available to help stimulate the economy, the success of which required a quick return on investment. So sub-prime mortgages were offered, at a higher initial rate to folks with a credit rating lower than 600. Thousands of these high risk loans were written. However, these plans hinge upon the borrowers refinancing at a better rate once your house increases in value. What could possibly go wrong??? House values plummeted, making it difficult to impossible for these people to keep up with payments, and stay in their homes. Houses were foreclosed upon, loans didn’t get paid, yatta yatta yatta. So, just to recap… Lenders; Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, Lehman, AIG etc. gambled with these risky deals. They lost… and we the people are left to pick up the pieces. The government’s taken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Lehman and AIG are in real trouble because the gov won’t bail them out, which is actually a good thing. We’d be pretty much rubbing elbows with Socialism at that point. Besides, I never got bailed out on my investment. A promising young chemistry professor said he could cure several different deadly blood diseases with an enzyme in yak’s liver, and needed money for research. Well, that didn’t work out. How could I have known that Yak was his uncle’s name? Never saw that coming. Neither did Yak for that matter… The trial’s next week. My point is… capitalism is based on a certain amount of risk. People tend to be careful when risk is involved. If someone’s there to bail you out, why not go for broke? (so to speak).
Of course, mine is a very simple, very basic overview of what is in large part the reason we’re in this pickle. (Meaning I put it in terms I could understand). I know it’s a very complex series of events. Some which could not be helped, and some which could easily have been avoided. So we know what happened, and why, but will anyone ultimately pay? The last time something similar to this happened was the S&L scandal. Of the Keating 5 senators involved, 1 was severely reprimanded, 2 were ‘criticized for acting improperly’… Oh the humanity! And 1 of the 2 members who were ‘criticized for poor judgment’, is currently our Republican presidential candidate. 5 years in a Vietnamese prison, AND criticized by the ethics committee? The man should have a cape! Wouldn’t it be funny if the only one to get in trouble for all of this is the banker whose pants are too low, showing more than 4” of his Alan Greenspan boxer shorts?