From Bloomberg News comes the latest from John McCain:
Wall Street is the villain in the things that happened in the subprime lending crisis and other areas where investigations and possible prosecution is going on,” McCain said during a taped appearance on ABCs This Week program.
The Arizona Republican, who has wrapped up his partys presidential nomination, said he supports the housing bill passed by Congress yesterday to stem foreclosures and aid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, even though it may cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion.
McCain, 71, said the risk of the mortgage companies failure is outweighed by the potential cost. He also said Fannie and Freddie should be barred from lobbying Congress and their executives compensation should be reduced.
“We should eliminate the pay and bonuses that these people rake in,” McCain said.
No, Senator. You are wrong. You are wrong on many accounts.
First, the Government has no business meddling in the affairs of private businesses. If the corporate board of directors approves a salary, bonus structure, golden parachute, and any other things as part of a compensation structure, it’s their call to make. Not yours. Not Congress’. Not anyone in the Government. Period.
Second, the housing bill is adding the weight of more debt to our already-too-large federal deficit. The Government has no business bailing out any industry. It has no business offering guarantees on loans to people who private industry has rated as “too risky.” It has no business offering flood & hurricane insurance to people who live in areas where private insurance companies have denied insurance because of the potential for flooding. In short, the Government needs to stop spending our tax dollars on feel-good programs, because in the process of buying our votes, it is creating problems it later has to “bail out”, figuratively (the housing market) or literally (New Orleans.)
Finally, Wall Street is not the villain. Did the mortgage lenders put guns to people’s heads, forcing them to sign on the 800 dotted lines? No? Then guess what: it’s not the mortgage companies’ fault, it’s the consumer’s fault. Were they “duped”? No. They were greedy. They just had to have that big house. They just had to have that flat screen TV. They just had to have that SUV on a 5-year lease. There are people who got into homes that were 3 times what they could afford. The consumers, the real estate agents looking for bigger commissions, the mortgage lenders… They got greedy. They all got greedy. No one said “no.” No one said “stop”. No one said “you can’t afford this.” Everyone in the process is guilty of thinking only of their own greed. But ultimately it’s the consumer at fault for not being responsible adults.
Now people can’t make their payments, and instead of letting people lose their homes (which is the right thing to do) the politicians do what? They buy our votes (again) by bailing out the banks and the foreclosures with our own tax dollars. So now everyone else gets to watch as more of our money goes to pay for someone else’s greed because they just had to have that big house and expensive toys.
Greed has replaced responsibility. “More! More! More!” the greedy consumers cry. Debt? Feh. Who cares. I want leather furniture! Don’t have the money? No problem. How’s 18 months no payments same as cash sound? No one cared that if they didn’t have the balance paid in full that they’d be subject to back-dated 25% interest on the full balance. “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!” Ultimately, it was the consumers who were greedy. So it’s the consumers who are at fault.
No one is entitled to a home. No one is entitled to food. No one is entitled to a car. No one is entitled to a job. No one is entitled to healthcare. No one is entitled to retirement. Nowhere, in any of our founding documents, does it say you are entitled to any of those things.
“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” —Benjamin Franklin
As a society, we have placed a higher value on stuff than on freedom. And nothing good can come of that.
“Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it? Or would they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path to destruction.”
— Thomas Jefferson
In the end, our collective greed & narcissism will be our undoing as we trade liberty for food, so long as we keep our iPods.