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Bailout, schmailout

I think it is about high time that I made some comment about the latest actions by the Federal Government and this whole bailout scheme that is taking place at the moment. In one word: baloney. Let’s consider the mess that the United States currently is in. We (and I say we from a very generous perspective since many of these fiscal decisions were made by individuals that were not even considering the interests of the nation when they issued them) are head-stuck-in-sand deep in debt, major institutions have failed and now the retail sector is taking a hit. We are at over 7% unemployment and every time you turn on the TV, they are talking about companies that are laying off more people.

You do realize that everyone has the whole thing wrong: giving money away to companies without a plan will not work. I am STILL appalled that they gave — GAVE — away millions of dollars to the banks and did not insist that they had to account for every cent. It is this sort of entitlement that has failed our country.

After watching everything, I realize that every American has to fend for themselves. The U.S. government, as much as they swear they are, are not looking out for our best interest. They’re not. And the fact that they have allowed this to tumble so far is evidence of the lack of leadership, responsibility and action that it takes to correct the situation. If they really cared about the welfare of the people, they would have stopped this fruitless war (saving billions of dollars), reinforced our core industries (to ensure jobs for American workers) and looked to the future by lowering our dependencies on foreign everything — oil, industry, manufacturing. We gave it all away and now we are paying the price for it! They should have bolstered our education system, which is in decline. I just saw CNN today and there was a report that 1 of every 7 Americans are illiterate! How is that possible in this day and age? It is unacceptable! It is equally unacceptable that our national debt is astronomical and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of taming it. At the rate we’re going, the dollar is going to be worthless and we’re going to be paying for things in foreign currencies like Zimbabwe currently is. And NOBODY is going to lend money to us because, let’s face it, would YOU lend money to someone that’s TRILLIONS of dollars in debt already? I didn’t think so.

Look, I feel very passionately about this. We all have personal responsibility in this and should be already shocked into the reality that things have changed; our world has changed. For the first time in decades, we have a catastrophe on our hands and we need solutions to get us out of it. Bailouts are unrealistic means of salvaging something that may not be viable in its current model. The way Americans have lived for years has not been a viable model with the whole “living beyond our means” bit. This is the time where we have to put our sensibility caps on and return to our former saving ways. For the individual, this is not about luck or hoping that the government will “take care of it”. Each decision we individually make affects what happens next, and it affects what our future generations will have to face.

I say, if you aren’t saving, start NOW. Build that emergency fund and take advantage of company matches on retirement accounts. If you’re knee deep in debt, pay it down NOW. If you don’t have a job, find one. It’s hard, I know. But if you can’t find a job, keep looking… but in the meantime, keep learning skills and keep yourself well rounded so that you increase your overall marketability. Take advantage of all the free programs out there while they are still available. Do whatever it takes to give yourself an edge. Believe me, social security and medicare are not going to be around long enough for my generation to see a DIME of assistance.

I feel encouraged by Obama’s entry into office and I hope and pray that he will bring the change he has promised to the government scene. It won’t happen overnight as some people have been pressuring; it’s just unrealistic to expect that it will happen so quickly. BUT, I am hoping that it is a deep departure from the policies and decision-making that has led to this disastrous series of events. Companies need to be held accountable and submit to strict oversight in their financial activities. No more tax shelters and money laundering. No more deceptive practices and bold-faced lies to people that trust them. It is downright DISGUSTING.

It it high time that everyone retreats from the life of excess and the reality of living within and if not, under one’s means. I also would like to see some sort of program in place teaching young people (and adults for that matter!) the value of money and to instill the values of saving and investing. Nobody teaches these important tools and they are usually left to flounder about without a plan of action about their spending habits, retirement and/or investments in life-value things like purchasing a home. I wish I had that knowledge along the way — I had to figure it out myself like most folks.

Let’s get it together people!!

Some good sources:

www.feedthepig.com (learn how to save – now)

onthemoney.cnbc.com (get your financial house in order with carmen’s advice)

iousathemovie.com (be in the know about how your government spends your money and the current state of things)

cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/debtplanner/debtplanner.jsp (or google “debt calculator” — use this to plan out how to pay that debt down)

www.ingdirect.com (save for a rainy day without taking too much risk — take advantage of higher interest rates)