Buy this loan, bailout that home, repay with... what?

In watching the news lately I've collected an alarmingly growing list of economic rescue plans by the government. These plans are designed to either bailout the auto industry, buy bad assets from mortgage companies, or simply dish out money any which direction that seems the best to keep the economy afloat. In the government's case, more money is always the answer. Ironic how it should have none.

How come there seems to be so many debates and discussions over what we should be doing, and less over actually doing it? Yes, there are plenty of rescue plans that will definitely be implemented, but they sure took awhile to enact. Not to mention the pork added to them. Just today the US is backing away from buying bad assets and instead will focus the $700 billion allotment on bailing out financial institutions.

While I am all for rescuing the economy, I sometimes wonder who is really running it. Years of research go into studying the economic engine, with millions of students learning from experienced professors in prestigious colleges on how to manage money. Our civilization is a miracle in engineering and complexity, yet it is a complexity that doesn't seem to be fully understood by the very people who designed it.

Even under dire circumstances, why cater to businesses that got us into this economic mess in the first place? Unfortunately, in order to keep the economy afloat we have to do whatever we can to keep alive those businesses that drive it. I say "we" as not the catering government, but the people and the businesses involved. Would the government offer the same assistance to anyone "less important" that created their own downfall?

In the news the past several days I have seen an alarming focus on discussing how these companies are spending their rescue money, money the government is giving them practically without oversight. Money that is probably coming through secondary loans from other countries. Reportedly, much of it is not put to bailing out the business itself, but instead fattening high ranking employee wallets with millions in bonuses and other incentives.

How much more can a system fail when it directly rewards those that made it fail in the first place? What are we doing here, giving lollipops to kids because they stole a dollar out of their mom's purse for a chocolate bar they intended to eat directly off the store shelf anyway? Who is held responsible when the parent is encouraging the kid, or at the very least is turning an eye away from the problem?

I don't even want to talk about the 10 trillion (and counting) in debt the government (not to mention "other" debt) will one day be required to pay to the countries we've been loaning it from over the past several decades. Everyone wants to borrow, the trouble is in how they intend to repay that money back. The sad truth is, they probably don't intend to pay it back. No one seems to be able to tell us what will happen after that eventuality either.

The magic of the economic engine truly fascinates me, yet its complexity and seeming unpredictability confuse me. I was in plenty of economic classes during college and not one professor ever touched upon the scenario we're currently in. Perhaps he was borrowing too.

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