I've pissed of more than a few people at work with my glee over the latest story about Angela Merkel's response to the U.S. call for international assistance with our current economic crisis.
While other countries are hemming and hawing and trying hard not to displease us, Angela basically said, "you are in deep shit because you allowed greed and stupidity to substitute for sound financial oversight, and international investors are also suffering because your financial overseers were criminally negligent, so you can kiss my German ass."
These are my own words, of course, but she did tell us to go jump.
Of course I get the "The world owes us so much" knee-jerk speech, and oh my God, yes, WWII was a shining moment in US history, but for cripes' sake, our noble actions 60-odd years ago don't give us the right in perpetuity to shit all over the world and then pull the Normandy card to get out of jail for free. And if we wanted to truly act like a noble nation, we'd apologize for turning a blind eye while our financial institutions went on an economic rape and pillage that left everyone, foreign investors included, up shit creek without a paddle. And don't give me the "this is what happens when you take a risk" spiel. Investors make investment decisions on risk based on trusted sources who rate investments. The higher the risk, the higher the return. Our rating agencies knowingly rated big piles of crap as solid and safe. I don't have a degree in finance, but I can figure out that if you lend someone a ton of money without bothering to verify whether they can pay for it, you're doing a crappy, if not illegal, job.
My mother used to say, "you made the mess; you clean it up." That's what we would do, instead of whining, if we had any integrity. And bailing out these institutions? Why is that when it comes to providing health care and decent education, or researching alternative energy the government wrings its hands and warns histrionically of the expense, yet it can decide to spend trillions on war and bailing out its pals? Why is it we're discussing severance packages for leaders of these companies? Their severance package should be a piece of paper from Human Resources saying, "Goodbye; Security will escort you to the door and collect your ID."
How about we all keep our houses, forgive our mortgages, and let the lenders collapse? If someone gets to walk away from this, let's let it be us for a change.