Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Courageous Stupidity

Made the mistake of flipping over to CNBC during a South Park commercial break just in time to catch the Senate press conference of Reid and McConnell sucking each other off. Lots of talk of bipartisanship, and just how gosh darn awesome it was that the Senate could come together in a time of crisis and courageously find a solution to the problem so close to an election...nevermind if the solution will actually work. What matters is they *DID* something. Of course, being politically courageous is no panacea for being flat out wrong.

Now if they could only find a way to convince all those stupid American citizens that assuming (approximately) $700 billion in toxic assets is in their best interest. In case you didn't click on that link, it's worth noting in black and white that the Administration has no idea how much the assets are actually worth. They pulled the $700 billion number out of thin air their asses because they "wanted a really big number."

Here's the real problem: most of the unpopularity of the bailout is not due to the idea of the government bailing people out; it's due to WHO it's bailing out. Most of America would be okay with the government bailing people out, it just has to be "average middle class joe" instead of the "corporate fat cat bankers." Personally, I don't like money being taken from me at gunpoint to be given to people who made poor financial choices, no matter how rich or poor those people are. Make no mistake: that is what the bailout is.

The other major problem with the bailout is that capitalism and the free markets are being tainted by the failings of a corporate socialist economic system.

One last thing: somehow I don't think that the person who is most to blame for exacerbating the Great Depression is someone we should be listening to right now.

Okay, I LAST last thing. I have absolutely no sympathy for any of the sob stories contained in this article. One, if you can't retire at 55, too damn bad. Retiring that young is a luxury, not a birthright. (Hell, retiring at ANY age is a luxury and not a birthright, but that's a rant for a different day.) Two, if you were expecting to be able to retire at 55 solely on a pension of $1200 a month you're an idiot. Three, if you are 62 and your portfolio was significantly affected by the market fluctuations, you're a bloody idiot. If that's the case, then you were still playing the market within five years of retirement and like I said, at the least you're a bloody idiot, at the most you're a GREEDY bloody idiot. But don't just listen to me, listen to the certified financial planner:

Bryan Hancock, a certified financial planner in Birmingham, Ala., said if investors have a well thought-out investment plan, they shouldn't need a sudden change of course. People who are close to retirement should avoid heavy investments in stocks, he said.

What he said. At last check, my IRA is down 2% on the year, the three year history is even worse. I'm okay with that because I've got a looooong time before I even think about retiring. If I was three years away from retirement, I wouldn't be in an IRA laden with stocks...because I could lose 2% of my porfolio in one year. Like I said above, I find it very hard to feel sorry for people who have made poor financial decisions. I am by no means a financial genius, but I've made what I feel are some fairly sound decisions. If they turn out to not be so sound, I'll accept the consequences of the actions and move on, not go bitching and moaning about how much my situation sucks, how unfair it is, and how the government needs to do something about it.