October 2008 Posts

Why the Bailout Plan is Destined to Fail

I tend to think of myself as an optimist, but when it comes to the government’s $700 billion bailout plan, I think it’s destined to fail for one simple reason:  The money is going to the same people who got us into this mess in the first place!  Does anyone really feel like they’ll be any more responsible now that they’re spending taxpayer’s dollars rather than investor’s dollars?   They got a financial get out of jail free card rather than having to take responsibility for their actions.  So, what’s the lesson learned?  Make bad decisions and the government will bail you out.  This morning, I saw an interesting article in the Washington Times that highlights just how little these guys have changed their behavior since the bailout plan went into effect.  Some top executives of AIG spent $440,000 on a post-bailout retreat at a posh resort – including spending $25,000 on spa services.   Your tax dollars hard at work!  If these guys were serious about being fiscally responsible, they’d be meeting at a Hampton Inn by the airport instead of a high end resort.

So, what would I do if I were the man in the fur coat?  I’d lend the money to those companies and financial institutions which have made good, solid business decisions.  Encourage those businesses to continue on their positive course and capture market share from the companies who haven’t been fiscally responsible.  We’ll end up with a group of solid winners and the losers will cease to exist.   The free market system can work, but we need to focus incentives on businesses that do things right rather than rewarding those who don’t.

New TSA Uniforms Reduce Airport Security

Anyone who’s traveled commercially lately has likely noticed the new blue TSA uniforms worn by screeners. I have to admit, the new uniforms look good – but were they really worth the $12 million it cost for them? It looks like taxpayers have coughed up roughly $250 per screener in this classic example of government waste. Here’s the dirty little secret behind the new uniforms – instead of sewn on badges, they now have shiny new metal badges. I know what you’re thinking… So what? Well, the new metal badges set off the metal detectors at the screening checkpoints. After discovering this blunder, the TSA promptly updated their screening policy – TSA screeners no longer need to pass through the metal detector to be screened! Out of the 48,000 TSA screeners, common sense tells us that there are bound to be at least a few bad apples – even if the vast majority of the screeners are good, honest people. In essence, the TSA has now reduced security for the flying public and spent your tax dollars doing it! We live in the greatest country in the world – let’s start acting like it and focus our resources on implementing valid security measures to protect it.