I would like to take one more moment to clarify some points from my previous post. I never felt, or intended to imply, that government should be as intrusive as it has become.
My wife has been, at various times, heavily involved with politics and political journalism. She has often said, and I have to agree, that the process of politics is what makes civilization possible.
The problem we have is that our government has been co-opted by special interests that wield more power than the government itself. The idea that we should or would need a bailout on the scale of the one we recently saw was, to me and many others, inconceivable. It was caused by people treating the economy like a gambling casino, doing things like betting on people's potential inability to repay their loans and then selling the bets as an investment. The result was that we needed a rescue. My suggestion that this rescue could have much more effective should not be construed as a statement that the government should be expected to support us. In fact, it's the other way around. We support the government with our tax dollars. So they should be working for us. But the power of special interests is so great that the government is not able to ignore their demands.
We, as a society, have lost touch with the fact that the only thing that has any real economic value is work. People need to work. And by work, I don't mean playing stock market roulette on the computer. I mean real work, making the things and providing the services that society needs to exist. We do this every day when we go to our shops or our bakeries or our offices. We cannot continue to sub out all of our work to Mexico or Malaysia or China and expect our economy to recover.
I would like to end this with an amusing bit I came across a few weeks ago. Someone said that if, back in the late 90s, you had invested a $1,000 in certain stocks, you would only have around $40 today. If you had put the $1,000 in Lehman Bros., you would have zero. But if you had bought a $1,000 worth of beer, you would have $220 worth of aluminum and you would have gotten to drink the beer.