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Awareness Magazine
5753-G Santa Ana Canyon Rd. #582
Anaheim, CA 92807
(714) 283-3385
(800) 758-3223
(714) 283-3389 Fax

Rescue Nation

By Robert Ross


“Rescue me
Oh take me in your arms
Rescue me
I want your tender charms
‘Coz I’m lonely and I’m blue
I need you and your love too”
   — Aretha Franklin

There was a time when Aretha’s words “rescue me” were about love and relationships. The times have changed. Today, “rescue” and “financial assistance” are more likely to be used in the same sentence.

Rescue Thee
Where did it all start . . .
these huge financial rescues, bailouts, helping hands? Did it start with Lehman Brothers, General Motors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, along with a litany of “too big to fail” financial institutions? And, when did it become the unofficial law of the land, or should I say law of the world, that the taxpayer would be put on the hook for someone else’s greed and misdeeds?

The near financial collapse of 2008 was the official kickoff of this mega-rescue phenomena. Economists claimed that this financial storm came out of the blue, a rogue wave. Although many, including the Awareness readers, were alerted to this coming financial crisis as early as 2005 (Google: Awareness Reflexions Coming Financial Storm).

So here we are, 2011, we’ve bailed out the Wall Street crowd, we’ve bailed out General Motors and Chrysler. And, we’re about ready to bailout the U.S. Post office — for the umpteenth time. We’ve gone along with “quantitative easing” (printing money) from the Federal Reserve, and we’ve increased the U.S. National debt by five-trillion dollars since 2008.  

To make matters worse, bail-outs have morphed from rescuing debt-laden companies, to bailing out nations nearing default, with Greece currently receiving its sixth financial tranche (installment), and Italy, Spain and Portugal moving toward the queue.

According to Michael Lewis’ book Boomerang, Greece ran up astonishing debts — from high-paying government jobs and generous pensions, as well as waste, bribery and theft. This debt came to “about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.”

In just the last 12 years, Lewis says, “the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms” with the average government job now paying almost three times the average private sector job. Those who work in jobs classified as “arduous” can retire and start collecting pensions,
Lewis adds, “as early as 55 for men and 50 for women.” Apparently more than 600 Greek professions have somehow managed “to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on.”

And who foots this bill for Greece’s misdeeds? the most productive nation in Europe, Germany. The German taxpayer will be paying the lion’s share, and paying, and paying and . . .
Back in the U.S., as of this writing, the President and Congress are putting together an-other “rescue package” to the tune of 400 plus billion dollars. This current rescue package is “to get Americans back to work.” This of course, is following a trillion-dollar rescue program for “shovel-ready jobs” two years ago, that didn’t work.  

Pillow Time
So, where’s this all going? A financial armageddon, or do we muddle though . . . everything hunky-dory in a few months, perhaps a year? I turn on the AM radio, and every 15 minutes hear an ad stating that the economy is coming unraveled and I should buy gold.

I turn on the T.V. news and hear that people are disturbed by the debt and irresponsible behavior coming out of both parties in Washington, and have organized into a new political party. Many T.V. political pundits refer to these people in the most unflattering terms. So much for sticking one’s neck out. I turn off the T.V., turn off the radio, and reach for a pillow.

Will the economy be righted with yet another bail-out program? Are we going to be treated to another catchy phrase like “shovel ready?” Do we need more quantitative easing and another increase in the National Debt? that’s the direction were heading in. However, I’m not convinced it’ll work. In our attempt to get back to where we were — the good times — in the eighties and nineties, we’re failing to look at the bigger picture.

We have many unresolved financial issues like unfunded entitlements which are staring us in the face. Our manufacturing base has been decimated and now government jobs outnumber manufacturing jobs (sound like Greece?)  And, no politician wants to suggest drastic cutbacks in any entitlement, let alone a balanced budget. So the problems grow and grow, and the debt grows and grows, and the bailouts grow and grow.

In 2008, the nation voted for “hope and change.” The hope has faded, with excessively large unemployed numbers and an unsustainable debt. The “change” that many sought, will probably be foisted upon us, whether we like it or not. And, what will the change look like? Don’t know, but my gut says it’s coming, and it won’t be a flowery cliche.

In the meantime, I going to put my head back under the pillow; there’s this jingle that keeps floating around — something about rescues and love:

“Rescue me
Oh take me in your arms
Rescue me
I want your tender charms
‘Coz I’m lonely and I’m blue
I need you and your love too.”

Robert Ross can be reached by e-mail at:
Copyright ©2011 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved