Sunday, October 19, 2008

Therapy and the Economy

Hmmm. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this article on their front page today, about how many people are seeking therapy in light of all economic turmoil these days.  I had wondered if this might happen, even in an anecdotal fashion. 

I know things had gotten too high, but I really worry about people like my parents and my in-laws, both of whom are retired and counting on stocks and pensions to pay out.  They did everything "right," working hard and saving their money, planning for the future.  Responsible people, the kind of people who form the backbone of the economy. And now their money, or a lot of it, has evaporated, simply disappeared with absolutely no trace. They're left wondering what else will happen, how things will ever improve.  I wonder the same thing.

I think, for my part, these hard economic times would be easier to take if it seemed like the parties who created this mess were going to be held responsible in any way. As it is, the heads of Fannie and Freddie, Lehman and Bear Stearns, Wachovia, WaMu, and AIG, their compatriots in Congress and the SEC, none of them will lose anything.  And that is not right. I get that life isn't fair, but this is also not just, and seems to go against the very Rule of Law that was always held so sacred when I took American History.  

Freakonomics wrote about this a few days ago, and there is a lot to their idea:  People are willing to lose a little themselves if they know that those who caused so many problems will be punished.  They aren't willing to accept minimal losses if it means the perpetrators get off scot-free. If McCain would just take a look at this, to get a handle on the anger that is out here in elector-land, and come up with a plan that concentrates on making the perps pay (even with their time in jail), I know it would help him.

And then we can all line up for anger-management therapy.  But AFTER the bad guys pay.

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