van Schouwen Associates

“This is the time to remember…”

Posted by Michelle van Schouwen

Prescient words?

Prescient words?

“… because it will not last forever.” Billy Joel wasn’t singing about the U.S. financial system in that melancholy song. But I’m guessing a few investors and small business owners are biting their nails this morning. We’re watching history happen, and the few who rule and get extraordinarily rich hold a big piece of our future in their fingers. As Congress votes on a bailout, voters continue to barrage their elected officials with angry, anxious calls and emails begging them not to reward greedy Wall Street, and not to allow financial CEOs to collect huge golden parachutes as they depart their floundering firms. Many people don’t want this bailout, thinking it “rewards Wall Street.” So now our elected representatives, who to their credit have been hammering away to create a passable plan, must fear for their jobs if they vote for it.

Our grandchildren will read about this crisis. Will they say that “ordinary Americans” and elected representatives were unable to stomach helping out the fat cats and thus led us to a depression? Will our grandchildren learn that citizens weren’t able to understand that when financial institutions crumble, one after one, legions of jobs are lost, retirements are ruined, families can’t get loans for homes or college, and we experience a deep recession or even depression – the kind we’ve all hoped won’t happen in our lifetimes?

Or will we face up, pay the piper (sure, with oversight and safeguards in our plan) and start cleaning up the mess created by the financial wizards and Gods of the Universe? I opt for the bailout. Painful as it is.