Current dictionaries have only one definition for the word “arrogance.” Simply stated, it is “offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.” Rumors abound throughout the word today that next year dictionaries will an additional definition will be added - just one single word: “America.”
America bashing is once again a favorite pastime in Europe. Europeans are blaming their credit crisis on America. The blame is largely misplaced, as European financial institutions were merely following the lead of their counterparts in America and effectively raping their own citizens.
J.R. Ewing (a covetous, egocentric, and amoral baron, who was constantly plotting subterfuges to plunder his foes and their wallets) would be proud of the cast of characters from AIG, Fanny, Freddy, Lehman, et.al. It is almost as though all of them graduated with honors from the J.R. Ewing School of Business. They have no shame, and offer no apologies for taking multi-million dollar bonuses, fudging the books or squandering the savings and income of Joe Sixpack.
And then we have two clowns -- Mutt and Jeff type characters better known as Obama and McCain -- who should be offering solutions to the problems and telling America, and the world what they would propose to do to fix the problem. Instead of offering anything of substance, they spend their time insulting each other. Unfortunately, none of the insults are creative or remotely entertaining.
Perhaps after almost eight years of George (All Hat, No Cattle) Bush. Americans have become immune to arrogance. Executives of companies who are being bailed out are still going to get their bonuses and golden parachutes. They will only be a bit smaller than what they might have expected. They are deserving of some compassion because after all, their careers are now ended, at least in theory. No doubt, their employment contracts all have a provision that they will be legally indemnified if accused of wrong doing, which means that ultimately the tax payer will be paying their legal fees as they try to stay out of prison.
Americans are infatuated with arrogance. They think, and believe, that it is wonderful that people in America can make unlimited amounts of money. They idolize men who play with a ball a few months a year and “earn” millions for doing that. Americans don’t seem to realize that it is they who are paying the salaries of those overpaid, so-called athletes and their steroids, drugs and arrogant behavior in public.
Americans have forgotten the principle of an “honest day's work for an honest day's pay.” It was that principle that made America the strongest country in the world after World War II. Instead, the collective arrogance of the American labor pool has created labor shortages in numerous industries that can only be filled by illegal immigrants, who believe in doing an honest days work. At the other end of that spectrum, are the employers who are willing to exploit those people in exchange for high profits that are never passed on to the consumer. When their companies get raided, the arrogant business owners pay a small fine, and then start culling the next wave of illegal immigrants for their labor again. They have to, because Americans won’t do the work.
All Americans have helped to create the financial crisis. Some, through their arrogance, have served to make it worse, but no single person or group is solely responsible. Ultimately, today, everyone is having to pay the price for the arrogance that is prevalent in today’s world.
There is no indication that anyone has learned anything from this crisis. Everyone has their hand out. Arrogance is something that people can recognize in others, but never see it in themselves. No one -- the super rich, the rich, the middle class or the poor -- wants to give up anything to get out of this crisis. They don’t -- but they think everyone else should.
The bail-out plans will prove to be colossal failures. There has been no committment from the business community to make any changes. All that they want today are assurances that they are not going to be hurt any more than what they are hurting today. The government wants to loosen up the credit markets so that people and businesses can continue being in debt, and allowing the disparity between the rich and the poor to continue unchecked.
A free-wheeling, unchecked capitalistic society creates arrogance. The ultimate price for that arrogance will be the demise of America as the world once knew it. Arrogance and common sense cannot coexist. Arrogance is stronger, and the price for rewarding arrogance is greater than anyone can afford to pay.
The Old Codger has left the room.