Friday, February 20, 2009


David Brooks writes today (Money for idiots) at the sense of outrage felt by having to 'shower money upon those who have been foolish or self- indulgent'. Is that the way we are supposed to feel?

Much of our country, and truly much of the world, is now reeling under the collective weight of bad economic decisions that have seemingly spiraled out of control. Those of us who have not taken unwise steps are being asked to carry the burdens of others. Somehow, those millions and millions of people who find themselves in the most serious trouble are cast as villains in this global disaster. Brooks speaks of the "regrettable moral logic of housing bailouts" that compels us to help them , only based on the theory that "if their lives don't stabilize, then our lives don't stabilize".

Mr.Brooks, we were ALL duped. We all bought into the good, better, best for today and tomorrow. You and I are still living in our homes not because we are any smarter than those less fortunate, but only because we are more fortunate. You and I both were equally as stupid as all the others. We have just been a little luckier, so far.

And where does compassion play a part in our choices? If I were one of the people now facing the possibility of foreclosure, wouldn't I be hoping that you had the human decency to help me out in my time of need? It seems like hard times bring out the worst in many of us. We do not easily suffer fools I guess. We must be the one who can cast stones because we have no sin. Rick Santelli of CNBC went on a tirade on the air yesterday and shouted at the President to "have people vote... to see if they want to subsidize losers' mortgages!" ( quoted in the piece by Mr. Brooks)

I want to let you in on a secret. You and I are all part of one whole. We are not separate from our fellow man. There are not millions of bad, greedy people suffering out there today. That is you and me who is unemployed, hurting and desperate. We must all suck it up in these hard times, and do our part to make everyone's lives a little better. We should do this because it is the right thing to do, not because it is the only way to get us out of this mess. Shame on you for your selfish view of the world. You and I, and all of us, should be better than that.


Anonymous said...

Joan and I read the same column and we were surprised to see that Brooks, with strong conservative views of non-intervention of big government, comes to the conclusion that the "greedy idiots may be greedy idiots, but they are our countryman." Also, he points out that there are many "responsible people" being punished due to unforeseen factors not in their control. His conclusion is that if government doesn't help all of them stabilize their lives, our country will suffer.
By his remarks, he shows that he agrees with us that government must play a major role in fixing our economy.

Anonymous said...

Why are bail outs for banks who are paying their excessive bonuses sound policy? Why is bailing out the auto companies sound policy? Rich idiots stay rich, poor idiots lose their house. Is that the American way?

Robert said...

My concern with Brooks (even though this op ed is more balanced than others) is that the motivation to assist is not so much that they are 'our idiots' but that they will bring us all down if we don't help out.

As the second comment indicates ( and as my son always says) there is never the level of outrage from the right when the $ is going to the rich as there is when the $ is going to the poor.