On behalf of the National Society for Creative Irresponsibility, of which I am a charter member, I wish to congratulate the Bush administration for the projected $700 billion bailout of the Wall Street wheeler-dealer community.
The largest corporate rescue in U.S. history is a great day for America and upholds traditional values, as expressed in that muscular proverb: When the going gets tough, the tough get going to get compensated.
I am flooded by support from folks everywhere who believe the way to deal with corporate irresponsibility is to hand over large amounts of the public’s money so that those who steered their companies to doom do not have their feelings hurt and resort to destructive behaviors — such as imbibing too many martinis. Why, a disgraced CEO could choke on an olive if he drank a martini too quickly.
Yes, young and old rejoice that these captains of commerce will not be made lance corporals of bankruptcy and have to cope with life’s challenges like the rest of us.
Just today, the mail brought a letter from a freckled tyke named Virginia — well, being sentimental, I assume she’s freckled — who writes:
"Dear Mr. Column Guy: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Government Santa Claus to bring us presents when we screw up.
"Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Post-Gazette, it’s so.’
"Please tell me the truth: Is there a Government Santa Claus? (Please call me on my cell phone as soon as you get this because my little friends and I want to stop doing our homework and have the teacher give us a passing grade anyway.)”
I certainly will call her and I’ll tell her that her little friends are wrong and all they need to do is incorporate themselves as Tykes of America Inc. and Government Santa will bail them out big time, ho ho ho.
Members of the Willie Sutton Fan Club are also excited about the administration’s generosity with the public’s money. You will recall the legend of Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied: "Because that’s where the money is."
Apparently the bank robbing community has taken note of recent developments and decided that they are sticking up the wrong places given where the real money is.
Anyway, they say it has become tedious to put on masks — which can be itchy for bandits with sensitive skin — and deal with getaway drivers, who are notoriously unreliable. They are thinking of putting on much more frightening attire (suits and ties) and getting into financial services where regulation and enforcement are lax and the pickings are easy if one acts recklessly enough.
Not surprisingly, members of the drunken sailor community are big supporters of the administration’s bailout plan. They sing, "Heave ho and up she rises" as they trim their sails, the "she" in this context being the national debt.
There is support too from an unlikely quarter: the government of the People’s Republic of China. As you know, the Chinese have been financing America’s debt for some time but not in their wildest dreams did they think they would get us to embrace socialism in the process. Talk about a return on investment! To be sure, our own Great Leap Forward is back-door socialism, and only a favored few will benefit the most, but that’s always the way with communistic intervention in the economy. With luck, the administration will start putting on Soviet-style military parades that feature missile carriers. Perhaps rehabilitated CEOs can salute with our checkbooks from the reviewing stand.
We at the National Society for Creative Irresponsibility second all these expressions of support for the administration’s bailout. We see it as pleasing continuation of President Bush’s record of hopelessly out-to-lunch government.
It seems only yesterday that the administration was saying that all was sunny with the economy; oh, there might have been a minor problem or two but generally bluebirds were nesting in the eaves of our major financial institutions.
Now we are at the brink of ruin and we must sign this blank check or else we will all be selling apples on the street. Our only hope is to trust Bush and his crack team, the ones we foolishly trusted in the first place.
And you know what? With conditions appended or not, the bailout may indeed be unavoidable to avoid a disaster. That is why we at the National Society for Creative Irresponsibility are endorsing John McCain and Sarah Palin in this election. The conservative philosophy they share has done its merry, laissez-faire work — so why would reckless voters want a change?
(Reg Henry is columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail rhenry(at)post-gazette.com)