Thursday, October 9, 2008


Testifying in Congress, the disgraced head of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld said he took full responsibility for his actions.

Is that right?

Well let me tell you about responsibility.

One day I was driving along a road with a 30 MPH speed limit.

My passenger, a type "A" personality, thought my 29 MPH was too slow.

"Joe," he said, "We'll never get there at this rate. Speed up!"

"No way, Dougie Doo," I answered. "I'm going the speed limit. We'll get there soon enough."

"Don't be a wimp, Man." He sounded irritated. "Just push the gas and let's go!"

"Oh, OK," I said.

I pushed the pedal and we approached 45 MPH.

As is usually my luck, little blue lights reflected in my rear view mirror.

I pulled over and this big, burly officer approached.

"Going to a fire, Buddy?" I couldn't believe he used such a worn cliche.

"Let me explain, Officer. My friend here was impatient and wanted us to get to our destination early. He told me to speed up. When I resisted, he insisted. So I sped up. It's all his fault."

Guess who got the ticket, me or my passenger.

Responsibility always comes with a price tag.


It does not necessarily take the form of money, it might mean a demotion, or maybe even jail time, but there is always a price to pay when responsibility is assumed.

Unless you are a politician.

Remember Janet Reno and the debackle in Texas?

She declared, "I take full responsibility for Waco."

Then President Bill Clinton, cried out, "No, no! Let me take it! I'll take full responsibility!"

It cost neither of them anything, therefore it is appropriate to conclude that neither took responsibility for anything.

Barney Frank assured us that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mace were sound...not good investments, but there was no reason to suspect that they were in any trouble.

Chris Dodd joined him in his calm assurances, as did a myriad of others.

In about two more breaths, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and Lehman Brothers began to colapse.

"Emergency! Emergency!" President Bush, Congress and the Senate all shouted.

"We've got to fix it NOW! If we don't we will all perish!"

So, being the honorable men and women that they are, they fixed it.

Why does it make me nervous that the very people who, in the final analysis, caused the problem are the ones we have chosen to fix it?

And who gets to take responsibility for the financial mess we're in?

In the political world...nobody. Absolutely nobody.

Nobody who had anything to do with it, that is.

Oh, yeah...let's pin it on President Bush.

While we are at it, let's pin it on Abraham Lincoln, Useless Grant, and Barney Fife.


selahV said...

hey Joe Edward, I broke my tooth a few months back and the dentist asked how it happened. I didn't want to tell him I was chewing on hard candy and so I said, "President Bush". Didn't have to say another word. He understood, completely. :) selahV

Joe said...

selahV: didn't say Barney Fife?