At 10ish this morning, my phone beeped at me...another news bite from the Associate Press. Thank God I was just walking, and not driving or chopping vegetables when I read this:
Paulson states that the economic crisis is "embarrassing to the United States of America."
The full quote is here (click here for the full article), with the emphasis being mine:
"You know, I share the outrage that people have," said Paulson. "It's embarrassing to look at this, and I think it's embarrassing to the United States of America."
"There is a lot of blame to go around - a lot of blame with big financial institutions that engaged in this irresponsible lending ... blame to the people who made loans they shouldn't have made, people who took out loans they shouldn't have taken out," said Paulson, who served as CEO of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs for seven years before he became Treasury Secretary in 2006.
It was an interesting reaction that sprung forth from me as I read that initial news blurb, and then later the article. Fury and laughter at once.
The laughter came quicker...emerging from the audacity of such a statement. Seriously...the economic crisis is embarrassing??? Or that Paulson and his boys are embarrassed for having fouled up the entire situation, and they make it seem like it's other people's fault.
To be fair, they didn't personally sign over the loan money to millions of Americans. Nor did they personally extend credit to people who perhaps were not the greatest of candidates. Nor did they personally cut the golden parachutes to the CEOs who bailed out of their floundering companies. No, no they didn't.
But what did they do? They allowed the wheels to go into motion. They allowed such lending practices to be in place and, more importantly, turned a blind eye when the various financial institutions hawked ARMs and other such lending programs to people as if it's nothing but cotton candy and kettle corn. The housing market is just like a carnival...it's fun! Everyone wants to go! You want to have a home, right? So let's get you set up! No money down, or very little anyway! Oh, that small print? Nevermind...here's a toaster.
Like a flash of lightning, the laughter at the ridiculousness of the statement turned into fury. I'm sitting there, reading the article and praying that one of my older students comes into class--this way, I can talk to someone who has seen as much, if not more, of life than I have. All I could think about was how "embarrassing" our current state of affairs is. Embarrassing???
Embarrassing is the fact that many college students can't afford textbooks, and rely on state and federal programs to pay for them...just to be able to study, to earn a degree and complete their dreams.
Embarrassing is the fact that because of both good and bad loans, the average American has payments through the nose, and in many cases are going without.
Embarrassing is the fact that the student council at my campus is putting together a food drive...to help out fellow students who have no money for food.
Embarrassing is the number of Americans who cannot afford health insurance; they make too much to qualify for Cal-Med (or the equivalent of their state), but not enough to afford even the most basic of plans.
Embarrassing is the number of people in my STATE who are losing their homes, their jobs, and their lives simply because the cost of living is rising, they are wallowing in debt, and have no hope or confidence.
That, Secretary Paulson, is embarrassing. And F U for making that statement.
Ok, taking a step aside, I will admit that most of the people I talk to don't really know their credit scores, don't honestly have a clue what a budget looks like, let alone how one works. I get that, really. But the damned financial institutions that allowed so many of these irresponsible loans to go out should have also known this, forseen the chaos that potentially arises from this, and done something about it. Instead, the overzealous wolves went after the yummy sheep--the money--hoping that all would work out. Uh, yeah. A bit too risky, doncha think?
The buck used to stop here, so to speak. Where is it going to stop now?