Friday, November 28, 2008

Ready for My Bailout

Now that it seems that the government is bailing out every bank in the country, not to mention various manufacturers, it's time for the rest of us to start thinking about what we want for our bailout. I know that some people are opposed to bailouts altogether, but it's too late for that. Our government has spent hundreds of billions bailing out people who make hundreds of millions a year. So what about bailing out those of us who make barely more than the median income? It's our turn.

I've thought about my bailout a lot. I can't do a lot of shopping without a bailout, so it takes the place of pointing and clicking and entering my credit card number. I do have a problem in that my bailout doesn't include paying off my credit card or refinancing my mortgage. I don't have a credit card balance and I rent. But I could receive a bailout. Really.

First I could have a line of credit at my favorite shops. My favorite shops would vie with one another to provide me the cheapest prices, the best service. I would no longer be just the woman who occasionally makes small purchases, but the woman who has a line of credit guaranteed by the government. The local bookstore would probably send someone over with the latest garden book acquisitions. The plant nurseries would call me with plant lists from their growers. My clothier would call when the pinwale corduroy jackets arrived, rather than just sending me a postcard.

Second, I'd receive a restaurant allowance. This would enable me to try new ones, as well as revisit old favorites. J would never have to cook again, unless he wanted to. Our reservations would be honored promptly. Indeed we might receive calls when the chef was preparing our favorites. If we didn't feel like going out, the restaurant could deliver. And did I mention that all of those who served us would be union employees, with good wages and benefits?

Third would be purchases of durable goods. Now unfortunately I don't need much in the way of consumer durables. Our 1200 square foot duplex holds quite enough furniture for us, thank you. And for the most part, we wouldn't want to replace it. I would be interested in one of those skinny TVs, though, if I could get an energy miser. And I might be convinced to revisit the sofa question, if excellent choices were provided. I'm afraid, though, that my fellows will have to use their bailouts for consumer durables.

Then there's the matter of concerts, plays and the like. Some portion of everyone's bailout should be used to support cultural activities. This would require many more performances, but would also thereby allow many more artists to make living wages. Small troupes would require larger spaces, and new groups could take over the ones vacated. These funds would augment the direct bailouts to arts' groups and the income earned by performing at senior centers, schools and day care facilities. J might be encouraged to get a couple of guitars, bass and drums together for the Centrum Silvertones, performing old acid rock and alternative folk at senior centers and nursing homes.

Hmmm, we might find that this kind of bailout worked much better than the one given to Citi, and learn something for the next go-round.

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