One of the things that concerns me most about the pending $1 trillion bailout of the financial sector is that it reinforces the idea of government as an all-powerful entity that can fix any problem. Reporting on the campaign trail, going to these town hall meetings, it has always amazed me how people assume that government has infinite resources -- whether it's health, housing, bad weather, or plain old bad luck -- Americans have come to assume that government will be there to insulate them from the ups and downs of everyday life. The pending action will only make things much worse. Americans who purchased homes that they couldn't afford, banks that made loans to those who they shouldn't have, financial institutions that made risky bets on derivatives even though they had no idea what they we betting on -- they're now all off the hook. And the bill will be paid by responsible working class Americans who either paid their mortgages or deferred purchasing property because they were priced out of the market by skyrocketing prices driven by irresponsible lenders and borrowers, and those who invested reasonably. The fact that Hank Paulson can snap his fingers and come up with $1 trillion to rescue financial institutions means Americans will assume government can dip into a bottomless well to cure any ill in society.
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