Friday, September 19, 2008

Money the money money

This Financial Crisis on Wall Street thing started me thinking.

Since we arrived in the US, I've been contemplating how strange it is that America seems more concerned with money than it does with people. And now, with a trillion dollars already handed out to high finance, and discussions about even more massive handouts, well - it's pretty clear who America loves the most.

For me to send my children to University here in the US will cost me about half a million dollars, assuming average current College prices. If I get sick, say with an expensive disease like cancer, I could be easily looking at 300,000 dollars a year in treatment costs. When it comes to preserving my personal health, or my ability to contribute to society, the United States wants to contribute absolutely nothing. And yet, the US Government will spend trillions of dollars - that's over a thousand billion dollars resuscitating businesses that have effectively done stupid, bad things. The kind of thing that you should go out of business if you do.

The injustice, at least from where I sit, is huge. This bailout money is not coming from a giant bank vault filled with cash. It's a promise. It's a repayment plan - a credit deal imposed on taxpayers. Indirectly, it's coming out of people's pockets over the next 50 years. And these people are the same people saving for college, and arguing with HMOs over their cancer coverage.

This is more money than has been spent to date on the war in Iraq.

Conservative estimates on the cost of providing health care insurance to cover every uninsured American would cost 90 billion dollars. That's less than one tenth of the money already spent on the bailouts.

Let's be clear here - America now has her citizens shoveling their personal cash - cash that they haven't earned yet into the pockets of rich Wall Street stock brokers and investment bankers, at the same time that they are struggling to pay for things that most other governments provide for free.

Is this really government for the people?