With all the discussion of bailouts, Congress treats the US budget like a slush fund of money available to accommodate every whim. From whince does this slush fund spring? Or whose money is it anyway?
Unfortunately, the advent of payroll tax deduction automatically distanced many Americans from that percentage of their paycheck that is automatically sent to the Government. That tax money that people never see and consider already gone by the time their check comes is literally out of sight and off their minds. The number workers look at is net pay. Therein lies the problem.
The payroll tax once electronically transferred to the Government becomes a part of the US Federal Budget. Congress passes a budget each year. This budget usually is not balanced and our greatgrandchildren will be paying for that. (Another topic for another time).
What’s new then? BAILOUTS. Private US companies, traded on the stock market, selling products in the American commerce stream now seek OUR money through handouts from the government. Now, we as US consumers make choices about how to spend the money we bring home. The products offered by these U.S. businesses can be purchased by some but as it turns out rarely are. Why would the government give away the money it takes from us to bailout, float and otherwise keep in business companies that WE as consumers will not support with our discretionary income?
After the “hearings” this week, Congress maybe strategizing on “loaning” OUR money to the private US businesses for the short term, perhaps until March 2009. This plan is seriously ill-informed. Congress seeks to place a bandaid on the deep self-inflicted stab wound suffered by the US businesses. These businesses made choices, persisted with other bad choices, and now they want the people who won’t buy their products to loan them money. Seriously?
Congress needs to shift their focus from “chicken little” to a more staid, introspective approach. Congress should focus on speaking with economists and financial planners who have a rational reasonable approach to the economy. The American people and American businesses took a while to get the economy to this point. Congress CANNOT fix the problem overnight or over Christmas. The economy will sort itself out. Businesses shutter every day. Small businesses discover that their product or service is not needed or desired and the business closes. These decisions are guided by the market. Automakers haven’t paid attention to the market for years and now expect those who fuel the market, taxpayers, to rescue them. Congress, in their egocentric, reelectionphilic bubble, work desperately to do what looks right instead of evaluating the situation and making an informed choice. Whose money is it anyway?