A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results but never achieving them. Following this definition, one could argue that Congress is insane.
Twice this year, Congress has attempted to act the hero and fight off the dragon of financial woe by throwing preposterous amounts of money down a hole. The first such act was earlier this year when Congress issued economic stimulus checks.
The purpose of the checks was to give the average citizen some money to blow, and hopefully that would shore up the economy. Well, fortunately, it worked. After millions of Americans went out and bought HD TVs, our economy was saved, and we now have nothing to worry about.
Oh wait. No, it didn't. As a matter of fact, things only got worse. Major financial institutions claimed crippling losses, and the public began to panic. So the government stepped in again and said, "I know how to fix this. Money will make it go away." With the incompetence of Barney Fife confronting the mafia, Congress pressed through the $700 billion bailout.
Returning to the definition of insanity, one could easily add to it "making a terrible decision despite the advice of experts or the very public outrage of the nation." Across the board people from all walks of life were crying foul, but the government kept playing. The only people who were in favor of the bailout were the myopic senators and representatives who voted to pass it. Well, them and the guys from AIG who planned a big fancy retreat on taxpayer dollars.
Now it appears as if another stimulus package is being discussed by House Democrats. This package would differ slightly because the checks would not come to citizens in the mail, but instead would be doled out to states and also put to use on various infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. The price tag is right up around $160 billion.
Yeah, that's right. Even after passing one stimulus package that did nothing and a bailout plan that has yet to bail anyone out, Congress is at it again. Apparently they have a worse short-term memory than Dory, that blue fish from "Finding Nemo."
The plan is to have a special session of Congress as soon as the election is over to pass the package. If it does pass, the bill for ridiculous ideas by Congress in 2008 would be right around $1 trillion.
So what lesson can the public take from this, especially the younger citizens on the cusp of entering the real world? Probably the same lesson kids learn playing soccer in those leagues that don't keep score -- points aren't important; everyone is a winner.
Don't worry kids; if you mess up big enough, good ol' Grandpa Government will come in and foot the bill. If there isn't enough money, just print some more. Who cares about the dropping value of the dollar?
For the record, there are losers. There always will be. And if this attitude continues, those losers will unfortunately be the taxpaying public.
Stimulus package, bailout, stimulus package-- can you guess what comes next?