NOW THAT'S FUNNY
Now that Wiki is leaking all over the place, and a new regulatory bill requires Wall Street to have increased transparency and disclosure about its dealings, all kinds of secrets are coming to light.
It turns out the Federal government was bailing out people left and right during 2008. We knew they were shoveling money into Wall Street, but we are just now finding out that they also lent lavishly to companies like GE and Harley-Davidson, not to mention numerous foreign banks.
Now, I must admit, they bailed me out, too.
I didn't seek the money. I was just sitting around one day clipping coupons when all of the sudden Ben Bernanke showed up in my driveway with a Brinks truck. He's a quiet man, but insistent. I let him in and made him a cup of tea. While we talked, his assistants carried bucket after bucket of $100 bills into my house.
I told him yes, things were tight, but I didn't want a handout. He assured me this was not a handout, merely a loan, at an absurdly low rate, with no conditions whatsoever, and no lending time frame to pay it back. Gee, I said, that sounds like a handout.
He accused me of being un-American.
Didn't I want to stabilize the economy? Did I want to see Europe implode? Did I not realize that the bone-crushing pressure of a worldwide financial meltdown was staring me in the face if I didn't get bailed out?
I took the money.
I didn't do anything with it. Well, I bought a couple of new hoodies for the kids and treated us to takeout a few times. But I was too afraid to spend the money. If the government was handing it out so freely, things must be really bad. I better just sit on that cash and wait to see what happened next.
I didn't make home improvements, I didn't take a vacation, and I certainly didn't hire anyone or create a job. I just sat on the money. I have to admit, I enjoyed it. I didn't realize how cozy piles of money could be.
I'm sure Ben will show up any day now, with the truck, wanting his money back, and I'll be ready for him. I'll never really know if taking that money helped the economy or not. There's no way to answer that question. But Ben says it did, and lots of people agree with him, so we'll have to leave it here.
But the next time I get bailed out, I might just spend that money.
Pam Lobley writes the "Now That's Funny" column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.