A Perfect Mess

So while I was trying to stay awake last night, I wandered down to the international television viewing room in the dorm where I live. Sometimes you can find stuff in English, like the other night I watched some of the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster, or whatever it’s called. I’ve seen it before, or at least parts, but I can never watch too much of it at once because it just gets super annoying hearing them bitch and moan.

Anyway, last night the only English I could find was CNN, and they were of course talking about the bailout plan. I listened half-heartedly to the Senate and House members as they gave their press conference, and I listened about as intently to the commentary afterwards. But one thing kept coming up, and it gave me such a WTF moment, that I still can’t shake it.

One statement/goal of the bailout that was repeated last night went something like this: If the bailout does not work, the taxpayers will not shoulder the burden. The company’s who benefit from the bailout will have to pay the money back, if it doesn’t work, not the American taxpayer.

Wha?

Seriously, WHA?

If the bailout doesn’t work, the companies have to pay the money back? How is that exactly? These corporations and firms are not going to take the money and sit on it. They are going to use it, i.e, SPEND it. And if the economy does not recover, that money will be spent and gone. How are they supposed to pay it back, if they don’t have it?

Better yet, if they are able to pay it back in some futuristic hypothetical failure of the bailout–why do they need to be bailed out at all? Wouldn’t stand to reason that if they can pay the money back in the event of a failure, that they don’t need the bailout because they already have the money?

I don’t know the specifics of this clause of the deal (I’ve been in Berlin all day after all), but the sentiment was repeated so much last night, that it must be part of the bailout package. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, but then again, not much does these days.

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