THE BLOG

Costco and the Great Federal Bailout

10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As I'm not an economist or anything remotely close, I'm going to put this in terms even I can understand. For instance, take my happy weekly trip to Costco. I love the wines, the meat is good and cheap, I'm never out of toilet paper, and look, there's a cool HDTV set for the kitchen -- what fun! Only now let's say I'm the Federal Government, and on this trip to Costco with my $400 I skip the wines, meats, TP and TV and go straight to the food stand where I plunk down all my money to buy the garbage they have in their dumpster.

The analogy here is, of course: the wines, TV, etc. equal infrastructure, investment in clean energy, green jobs, all the goodies America needs to thrive in the 21st century. Instead we as taxpayers bought all the bad loans and worthless paper that we found in the dumpster. Yes, if you've paid your taxes, you are now the proud owner of unregulated hedge funds, mortgaged-backed junk bonds (formerly AAA rated because no pesky regulator was looking), etc. In other words, crap. Nothing that's going to grow the country.

I assume you worked hard to buy all that dumpster trash for Uncle Sam and were hoping for something better, like sane energy to stop Global Warming or perhaps national health insurance, or subsidies for education so that your kids can have good jobs in an ever more competitive world market. Well, we can't even think about that stuff now because we just spent all our money bailing out the SOB loan officer who probably chortled while giving that 60 grand a year worker a loan for a half million dollar house. The SOB was right to laugh because he wasn't going to get stuck when the loan inevitably defaulted. Eventually it would be Lehman Brothers and Fannie and Freddie's problem, or perhaps it should have been. Now it's our problem because we bought that dumpster trash from them instead of the goodies.

Not as much fun, but I suppose we had to do it to avoid the second Great Depression. Well, for this week anyway.