The Bailout

Does anyone know what to do?

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Comments (16)

(16) Gregory Florek, November 30, 2008 11:13 PM

Simple Solution

The problem is the disparity of wealth. The solution is fair taxation that can balance the national debt tomorrow. There should be one tax --- The percentage of a persons income to the national income that should be the percentage of the national debt they should pay.

(15) Meira, November 26, 2008 11:16 PM

How big the Harvard Yard is

Great question solisits a great answer. And here it is, thanks Marjorie for navigating us to the timely links. The problem is about tests, that we are able to pass, because G-d gives us tools, mind, knowlege etc.- everything what we need to find the solution. Look at these young people from Harvard: they are full of enthusiasm! America is able to achive breakthrough following the same principles: " The Harvard Yard is only two inches". Wow! That means we have to be open up for new ways of thinking, have to question everything we are feeded by mass-media, we have to take responsibility for new leadership, argueing all kinds of old traps that our leaders can follow.

(14) Joel Friedman, November 26, 2008 8:49 AM


Emphasize trust. Without G-d we are doomed

(13) Linda Martin, November 26, 2008 6:35 AM

Sufficient Unto the Day - Spend your Money in your own Backyard

Fear of the future has led the world to greed. The day has gone when man was content with his booth and his fig tree and vine, and resting the ground every 7th year. "What if the booth blows away, the trees wither?". And so, we grew "clever", with increasing sophistication, and complexity. And we wanted something for nothing with our clever "investments" hoping to beat inflation. Maybe we didn't really want to play the game, but when all around you are pushing the boundaries to make a fast buck, it takes a brave soul to say "enough all ready" and sit on the sideline seeing his assets diminish. So the problem escalates. It is difficult to have total faith in these times and believe that Ha Shem will provide for our needs ... if not our greedy desires. But the only way out is to live modestly, spend wisely, be productive and be guided by our Teachings. And as my mother, may she rest in peace, always advised - "Spend your money in your own Back Yard", ie support your own community, wherever you can, and recirculate what wealth you may have remaining where you know it will help others in their need to survive.

(12) Anonymous, November 25, 2008 6:39 PM

Random Thoughts

Although I am a true Capitalist at heart, you may have a point #1. I have read somewhere that if the money spent on the bail-out had been given directly to the people, there would have been approximately $100,000 available to every family in the US. Imagine what families could have done with that money…paid off their mortgages, educated their children, received job training skills, invested it, etc. It must also be noted that the very individuals charged with designing the bail-out are at least partially responsible for the problems. It would have been so much better to allowed the leadership from Wal-Mart, Honda, and the non-unionized south to have had a bigger role in the decision-making process. Although I am sure that denying these businesses the funds for a bail-out would have been extremely painful, people must be responsible for their own lives. If our nation had provided bail-outs 100 years ago, we would still be using telegraphs and steam-powered trains. The saddest fact is that we, as a society, are only living for the moment. Our children and grand-children will be the ones forced to pay the ultimate price for these decisions.

(11) Marjorie Mazel Hecht, November 25, 2008 5:04 PM

There is a solution

I'm sorry that my comment was inadvertently "submitted" before it was completed. Here is the website, if people wish to read more:

(10) Marjorie Mazel Hecht, November 25, 2008 4:49 PM

Go with LaRouche's FDR solution

Lyndon LaRouche was the only economist to foresee the present mess, and propose the kind of solution that Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to get this country out of the last depression. In brief, a New Bretton Woods with a fixed exchange rate, putting the world financial system through bankruptcy proceedings, in which the speculative trillions of debt obligations would be thrown out, issuing new credit for productive projects--like building new infrastructure and repairing the old infrastructure. The point here is to protect the general welfare, not the banks, gamblers, and speculators. The Homeowner and Bank Protection Act of 2008, proposed by LaRouche, with precedent in the legislation enacted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has been debated and passed in many local and state legislative bodies. Congress needs to pass it. It would freeze foreclosures and keep people in their homes, place chartered banks under protection, and it would also write off all of the speculative debt obligations of mortgage-backed securities, derivatives and other forms of Ponzi schemes.

(9) Sanford D. Horn, November 25, 2008 3:22 PM

Stop the Bailout Madness!

Amen, Rabbi, common sense in uncommon times. Please read my most recent column: Not Your Father’s Stock Market – Does Anyone Really Miss Oldsmobile? Commentary by Sanford D. Horn November 19, 2008 During Independence Day weekend in 2005 I bought a brand new Chevy Malibu. It’s such a nice automobile that General Motors now wants me to buy another one, except they won’t actually let me have the car. They, along with Ford and Chrysler want my money, but have nothing to offer in return. The same is true for the rest of American automobile owners and even those who do not currently own a vehicle of any kind. Yes, my friends, welcome to the great American Automobile Bailout. The big three American auto makers in the United States flew into Washington, DC – on private jets, no less – obviously not learning anything from the piggish largesse demonstrated by AIG – hats in hand – upturned – begging Congress for a $25 billion “loan” to keep them afloat. Remembering former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug mantra of the 1980s, advice to Congress, “Just say no.” First the banking and financial industry, now the automobile industry, where does it end? Who will come calling next? Textile workers? The newspaper industry? Of course their failings are their own fault for all the pulp fiction the alleged mainstream media disguises as journalism. Well, as Harry Truman so eloquently noted on his Oval Office desk, “The buck stops here,” and here is with the American taxpayers. After all, the money Congress would “loan” the big three comes from the revenue provided by the American taxpayer. And what do the taxpayers get in return? Supporters of the bailout say it is necessary to prevent the auto industry from going bankrupt and eventually out of business causing the elimination of over one million jobs related directly and indirectly to the auto industry. US Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) never met a bailout he didn’t like – starting with the initial $700 billion and the $100 billion dumped in the laps of the AIG weasels who continued living high off the hog on the backs of the taxpayers while the AIG executives were getting cushy massages. If Frank is for it, it must be the wrong thing to do. On the other hand, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was right on target when he called for Edward Liddy, AIG’s beleaguered CEO, to resign as a condition of the bailout. Why keep the same leaders at the helm to continue running the ship aground. The automobile industry is to blame for their current failings. Obviously they are not producing the vehicles that the American motorist wants to drive or if they are, the cost is too prohibitive. And just why is the cost too prohibitive? It begins and ends with labor costs. The labor costs of the big three auto makers in the United States is roughly $73 to $74 per hour, while the labor cost of the average American worker not a part of the big three is about $28 to $29 per hour. By the way, in Japan, the labor cost of the auto worker is about $45 an hour. If the government bails out the automobile industry what is to prevent it from continuing along the same path to disaster? Certainly not the government, who can barely manage its own affairs. If the big three face Chapter 11 bankruptcy they would be forced to reorganize themselves in a more fiscally prudent manner. Perhaps it is time for GM’s G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., Alan Mulally of Ford and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler, the Larry, Moe and Curly of automotive CEOs to be left at the side of the road. Reorganization ought to include a panel of “civilians” to advise the big three what will drive customers back into the showrooms. Perhaps the big three simply need to make better vehicles. Although to be fair, I have only owned American cars and have had success with them, including my current Malibu, which I really enjoy, but then, I have low expectations – get me where I need to go safely and in a timely fashion. I probably would not be a good candidate for the civilian panel. In fact my first car was a 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile – a big ole honking four door, dare I say, Carolina blue, behemoth of a car that had crank windows, AM-only radio and took regular leaded gasoline. Oldsmobile has gone the way of the dinosaur and America has survived. Perhaps if GM, Ford or Chrysler faded away or merged with one another and streamlined themselves, they could once again be the strong, solid American automobile manufacturer people remember from yesteryear. Sometimes a thinning of the herd strengthens the herd. Probably something of which Darwin would approve. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R), himself a Michigan native, has come out against the bailout. He suggests that bankruptcy is the appropriate way to go as well, because why should the American taxpayer be forced to pay for something they obviously did not want in the first place. Romney’s father, George Romney headed up American Motors starting in 1954. Anyone miss American Motors? They came into this world as a result of a merger between the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company in 1954. They foolishly merged with the French company Renault in the 1970s and finally exited stage left when Chrysler bought out AMC. (Renault after all produced the hideous Le Car in the early to mid ‘70s. What a piece of crap.) Lead, follow or get out of the way is the advice for the big three. If they can’t make it on their own, it just wasn’t meant to be. If bankruptcy will shake loose the cobwebs and give people something worth buying at a price worth paying, consumers will be back. If not, perhaps one of the big three needs to fade into the sunset. Some who support the bailout have suggested it would be bad for the economy if the bailout does not occur. Well, let’s look at the tumbling stock market. When the Democratic-led Congress approved the initial $700 billion bailout did the market suddenly turn around and enjoy an upswing? No. And with continued talks of more government handouts with taxpayer dollars, the market continues sliding into the mire and muck. When the Dow Jones Industrial Average, first published on May 26, 1896 in Customer’s Afternoon Letter, the original Dow Industrials featured but 12 companies from America’s important industries. In 1916 the Dow expanded to 20 companies and finally in 1928 settled on 30 companies – the number used to this day. Of the original 12, General Electric is the last man standing – and barely at that. They have enough of their own problems. So, what happened to the US Leather Company? Dissolved in 1952. What about North American Company? Broken up in the ‘40s. How about the National Lead Company? Today they are NL Industries, but they were tossed off the Dow in 1916. And the American Sugar Company? Today, they are Domino Foods, Inc. – sugar, not pizza. Companies come and companies go – like the Bible says, a time to be born and a time to die. And what about the original Dow 30? Sure, Chrysler and GM are still standing, but did the country fold when Bethlehem Steel, founded in 1857, went bankrupt in 2001 and dissolved two years later? No, other businesses pick up the pace. Anyone miss Woolworth? OK, it was an American institution, but now there is Wal-Mart. Potsum Inc. became General Foods, while American Can became Primerica. Standard Oil of New Jersey became Exxon while Texas Corp. became Texaco and is now Chevron – just a hair of a different color. All part of the original 30. In business there are no sacred cows. It may not be necessary to reinvent the wheel, but reinventing the American automobile industry sure seems like a prudent idea. Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA. See also: for my blog.

(8) Anonymous, November 25, 2008 3:01 PM

I agree with senlin

The greed and high bonuses!!! All the bail out money should go back to all the people who lost their money in the market and lost all their retiring money. They should be punished for robbing people's livelihood.

(7) Daniel, November 25, 2008 9:49 AM

What Is The Right Thing to Do?

BS"D The right thing to do, for those of us [Yehudim] living -existing - in the Diaspora, is to return to Ha Eretz asap, so that we can bring holiness, i.e., Torah Law, back to the land vis-a-vis the Sanhedrin, a rebuilt Temple, and a restored Priesthood. Subsequently, HaShem will allow us to be the light unto the Goyim that we are supposed to be, and we will be able to help the nations solve their problems at that point in time. Bottom Line: All Torah Jews living in the Diaspora must return to Ha Eretz, ASAP. PS: On a personal note, with the help of HaShem, as soon as I can sell my house - very difficult to do currently - then I will contact Nefesh B'Nefesh to start my aliyah process.

(6) Sofer Elam, November 25, 2008 9:09 AM

I agree with you Rabbi......

It's time they started making their own beds! If you add it all up counting the total of all those wanting their beds this's well into the trillions. There has to be a stopping point.

(5) Anonymous, November 25, 2008 8:43 AM

Bailout video

totally missable...

(4) senlin, November 24, 2008 4:07 PM


I''m still just waiting for all these executives to apologize for messing everyone over while they made millions and continue to throw company parties at the government''s expense. I think Torah has plenty to say about this kind of exploitation, and I doubt Rabbi Akiva *or* Salanter would be as forgiving of corporate America as most contemporary Orthodox rabbis seem to be.

(3) suzy, November 24, 2008 1:01 PM

This deffinately is a tough issue.

(2) ross, November 23, 2008 8:25 AM

Maybe you would volunteer?

We need someone exceptionally charasmatic and experienced with the human psyche to convince the corporations that he holds the key to their success in their hands. After lengthy speeches and mind-blowing rhetoric, and once he sees for sure they are finally convinced beyond a doubt that he has the secret, he then springs on them, just as a side point, the very simple, minor condition that they need to fulfill: They just need to give, lets say, 10 percent of their worth to places called "yeshivas" where young men are really working on how to further improve the financial state of the world (well, we are, sort of, aren't we?) "That's it?!" they'll say. "What a bargain to get out of this mess!" Once they see their blessings come, we then remind them to try this every year. Now there may be a few halachic issues to work out, but if it works for us, why can't it work for everybody? But we need someone really charasmatic!

(1) Rosen, November 23, 2008 6:54 AM

helping the bottom-up, NOT the top-down

My smart idea to help the economy would be the workers who are on the verge of financial ruin due to mismanagement at the top, would be that the workers themselves ought to go over to DC and beg congress to help them - NOT corporate CEOs flying in on executive jets to ask for several billion dollars in bailout money that they don't need, which they would likely spend on lavish non-essentials such as spa treatments and expensive dinners. Thus, the trickle-down economics theory of giving to the rich first has failed. The fundamentals of any economy start from the bottom-up, NOT the top-down.


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