Enough Greed to Go Around

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Submitted by Kay Helbling

Remember when you were a kid and your folks taught you to never point your finger of blame at someone because “there are three fingers pointing back at you”? Well, back in Washington there is a lot of talk about greed these days, mostly as it relates to Wall Street, but, believe me, their is enough greed to go around.

What exactly is greed? According to Webster it is “the strong desire to acquire or possess”. So let’s list a few “fingers” of greed.

It starts with the very folks who desired a home that they had not yet acquired the financial means to support. They would even provide false IRS income statements to justify to purchase.

Activist groups like ACORN, lying claim to serve the community in their desire for government funding. Yet, rather than serving their communities by counseling the folks as to the consequences of these high risk loans or the financial responsibilities of home ownership, they simply fueled the notion that home ownership is some kind of innate right.

The politicians chose not to heed the many warning calls and signals. Their desire for constituency votes of folks who should never have been granted the loans took precedence.

It didn’t help to have an Administration whose desire to appear compassionate and nonpartisan failed to expose the actions of the former three.

The situation was ripe for the picking by the financial institutions, aka Wall Street. Their desire for wealth took precedence over responsible business practices that what would have required they substantiate the value of the paper they were buying.

But when all is said and done, none of this greed really would have resulted in a “national crisis”…..

Sure some folks would be back in rental housing, which they probably should have been doing anyway. Some businesses would be shut down, which would simply have been a capitalistic system cleaning up the refuse. Some politicians would paint themselves as saints and others as demons, but what’s new there. No, the crisis was created by all the rest of us.

The country has become a nation built on credit. Our desires as a “must have it now” nation has put us as slaves to the financial institutions, so as they go, go we. Our government, we the people, have allowed our government to grow so large it must borrow to meet its budget.

Very possibly the best answer would be to respond as we did when the gas prices rose. We all tightened our belts and began choosing vehicles more wisely and trips more carefully. I think we could all stand to “desire” a few less of the extras we’ve come to enjoy. Who knows, we may even come to desire a simpler life.

Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now looking forward to an empty nest this fall with her best friend—her husband.