January 18, 2009

Yes you can. But will you?

I know you’re kind of busy right now, but I wondered if I could bend your ear for just a minute. It’s about sailboats. Even a president-to-be has time for sailboats, right?

You see, we sailboaters are feeling a little aggrieved about all the bail-outs for people who have been getting things wrong and setting bad examples.

For example, there seems to be a lot of sympathy in Washington for people who, in a mad rush of greed, bought over-large houses they couldn’t afford. They weren’t conned into doing it. They can read and understand the contracts, the same as the rest of us.

There also seems to be a lot of sympathy for people who lost money, after making bad investments, to less-than-trustworthy brokers and banks whose CEOs worship fervently at the altar of Mammon.

But there is no sympathy for the responsible, patient, frugal people -- the ones who rented apartments and saved up a 20 percent deposit before buying a modest house just big enough for their needs. There is no sympathy for people who shunned life’s luxuries, bought on credit, to build up a small retirement account for their old age. In other words, there is no bail-out for people who acted right, only for people who acted wrong. This is very unfair. It sets a very bad example.

And now, to cap it all, Congress is debating a proposal to pay people to get rid of those old gas guzzlers sitting in their driveways. Drivers could get vouchers of as much as $4,500 to turn in those fuel-inefficient vehicles.

Mr. Obama, why would you want to reward people for making such bad choices? What are you planning to give people who wisely and frugally bought Ford Escorts and Honda Civics? Which kind of people would you rather see in the new America?

And that brings me back to sailboats. There is no greener form of transport than a sailboat. Sailboats don’t pollute the air or the water. They don’t squander our precious resources or add to the national debt for imported oil. They are quiet and don’t demand huge public expenditure on freeways and traffic lights.

People who own sailboats are nice people, thinking people, modest and caring people. They are the solid, sensible, generous heart of America. They’re the kind of people you should be supporting with public tax dollars, Mr. Obama, not the overspenders who show no discipline, not the greedy bankers or incompetent auto manufacturers.

Can you find it in your heart, sir, to encourage sailboat ownership with the same kind of taxpayer handouts you’re giving the greedy and incompetent?

Yes, you can.

I just fear you won’t.

Today’s Thought
What is vulgar, and the essence of all vulgarity, but the avarice of reward? —Emerson, Conduct of Life: Worship.

I coughed a cough into the air,
Germs fell to earth I know not where;
For who has eyes so keen and bright
That he can see a germ alight?

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