Tuesday, September 30, 2008

At the Precipice

A few days ago I mentioned that I was going to start work on a shantytown in my back yard. It was just supposed to be a side project that I worked on in my spare time. There was no real sense of urgency to the project, since I figured it wouldn't need to be finished for a few months.

All that changed yesterday with congress' rejection of the Wall Street bailout package. The world's stock markets were swift to react. Things got so bad on the Russian market earlier today that they had to suspend trading. Here at home, the Dow Jones index fell a record 777.68 points.

The rejection of the bailout package was unexpected. The White House and congressional leaders spent several days last week hammering out a deal they thought would pass. But when it was actually voted on in the House of Representatives, it went down in a 228-205 vote. Ironically, it was largely a rebellion in the Republican ranks--Bush's own party--that doomed the measure.

Leaders are still optimistic that with more compromises, a new measure will finally pass. But in the meantime, fear and uncertainty will continue to spread. Some analysts are warning that the current economic climate has already doomed the upcoming Christmas shopping season. And while that may seem trivial, keep in mind that many retailers rely on November and December sales to turn a profit. If that tanks, then many businesses will fail next year.

And that's part of why all of us should be concerned about what's happening. Sure, it would easy to say f*ck Wall Street, but we have to look at what that would mean for the rest of us: No available credit, businesses failing because they're unable to borrow, more mass layoffs, skyrocketing unemployment, even more foreclosures, and the complete collapse of our economy. If we're not careful Hugo Chavez will be taking over the United States.... And we'll be welcoming him.

As unpalatable as it may be, Wall Street's big firms must be rescued from their own stupidity. BUT--and this is important--the people responsible for the current mess MUST be held accountable. Even if they didn't actually break any laws with their business practices, the leaders of the firms who got the world into this mess should be sent packing with zero pay. They normally receive millions of dollars in pay and bonuses when they do well. But if their leadership led these firms to financial ruin, then they should be forced to personally bear the responsibility.

So what's the solution? Simple: Forced castration.

While I'm normally against torture, the current financial climate all but demands it. We round up the people most responsible for this fiasco and cut off their nuts.... With no anesthesia. Let them share in the pain they've inflicted on the American taxpayer.

Then we take what remains of their shriveled nutsacks and hang them from the lampposts along Wall Street as a warning for future business leaders.

0 thoughtful ramblings: