Of Bears and Sacred Cows

We’ve been hit with blow after blow since the first of the month, not the least of which was Hurricane Ike. The severity of this disaster will affect the residents and businesses along our Gulf Coast for many months … maybe many years … and a bailout should be forthcoming. The desperate and heartbroken folks down there deserve a bailout, but they won’t get it. That’s because they don’t really count. They’re not among the elite.

• The guy who walked away from Merrill Lynch & Co. with a $ 161 million package just before his firm went belly up … he’s one of the elite.
• The guy who walked away from Countrywide Financial Corp. with a package of more than $ 120 million just before his firm went belly up … he’s one of the elite.
• The guy who served as CEO of AIG for the three months preceding the firm’s collapse, but walked away with a $ 7 million package … he’s one of the elite.
• The guy who walked away from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. with almost $ 490 million before the firm went belly up … he’s one of the elite.
• The guy who served as CEO for United Health Group but walked away with more than $ 630 million … he’s one of the elite.

“Ike” wasn’t the only back-breaker this year. Lehman Brothers Holdings, Fanny Mae, Freddie Mac, Merrill Lynch, AIG – they all went bust, but instead of tapping the “elite” who contributed mightily to the demise of these institutions, some $ 850 million has been pumped into the financial fiasco by U.S. authorities. And it’s all being funded by us peons – the jobless, the homeless and the elderly.

Here’s another rub. While our Gulf Coast is being ignored, The Inter-American Development Bank has just agreed to fork over $ 400 million to … you guessed it … the government of Panama. They need to expand the Panama Canal, you see, even though the authorities in that foreign land have already admitted that business has already become “flat”.

All this money of ours that’s being handed over to the elite, do you suppose we’ll ever benefit from these “investments”? Here a statement that could provide an answer to that question.

“While the full impact from these events may not be known for months or even years, the fact that financial firms that were able to survive the Great Depression, World Wars, and the September 11th attacks collapsed under the weight of the current financial crisis is cause for grave concern.” — New York Governor David Paterson.

Now back to “Ike” again. The Coast Guard reported that 118 ships were backed up awaiting entry to Gulf Coast ports. The Port of Houston stated that electricity was lacking and that the three Class 1 railroads serving the Port of Beaumont were still unable to operate. Authorities reported, however, that truck transportation throughout Southeast Texas was not interrupted! Can you believe it? The lowly truckers – that part of the supply chain that Southern California authorities are trying to strangle – were the only means of transport able to withstand the multiple “blows” of the past weeks.