Tuesday, March 3, 2009
RECIPE FOR CRISIS
It began long before the bottom fell out. To one degree or another, we all played a role in it. Buying that home or car we couldn’t afford, lying about our income status on mortgage applications, adding a big screen TV to the list of stuff we have to have, even rolling the dice a little longer than we should have on our 401K. Greed, upper or lower case, got the best of even those of us who like to think we’re cautious, responsible Americans, endowed with more than a fair degree of common sense. Granted the fire was fueled by an administration that was asleep at the switch and battered by one major foreign policy blunder after another. That aside, it’s the appropriate time for all of us to take inventory of ourselves and ask what we might have done to contribute to the morass in which we’re now mired. Yeah, it’s a lot to be asking of ourselves but it is, obviously, just what President Obama was referring to when he summoned us to be more responsible Americans. Part of the recovery package he and congress have authored is designed to bring relief to homeowners whose mortgages approach 40-percent of their grossly monthly income! Yes, those who played it safe are paying, will be paying for a long time, for those who didn’t. And the banks that enabled such fiscal irresponsibility are being warned they will be held “fully accountable”, as they should be. Equally hard to swallow is the multibillion-dollar bailout for Detroit, in spite of the situation the auto industry has created because of its own “bad practices”. “We can’t afford to govern out of anger”, says the President, but as Americans we can’t help but resent those who have placed such a heavy burden on us, in many cases, turned our lives upside down. The financial institutions, the banks, greedy lenders, and the millions who simply bit off more than they could chew, because they wanted it all and they want it now. Our ability to recover will depend as much on our collective resolve to forgive and move on as it will the recovery plan laid out by the best and the brightest in the Obama administration. Let’s hope they are just that, as for too long we believed we had those of that ilk at the helm before we went disastrously off course.