Thursday, January 7, 2010

Volume 3, Number 28: Bad News On Top Of Bad News

(Note: I originally posted this entry on my Yahoo! GeoCities blog on September 23, 2008.)

As you know, after a tide of failures and near-failures among America's largest financial institutions, the federal government recently announced a plan to bail them out... at the cost of increasing our already outrageous national debt.

It has a lot of people outraged, asking, Why? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said just earlier today, "There is a lot of blame to go around - a lot of blame with big financial institutions that engaged in this irresponsible lending ... blame to the people who made loans they shouldn't have made, people who took out loans they shouldn't have taken out." Shouldn't the greedy people responsible for this crisis be the ones to pay? The way the bailout is set up right now, it's exactly like the other bailouts that have taken place (the savings & loan bailout, for example)... the honest, responsible middle class citizen is being made to pay for the greed of the rich and the irresponsibility of those who took out the loans they couldn't afford to pay.

In China, we have another example of greed by a few people who don't care about the well-being of the many leading to disastrous results: A number of baby milk manufacturers were found to have had melamine (the same chemical at the heart of the 2007 pet food scandal) in their products. In one example, a supplier of the Sanlu Group deliberately diluted their milk and added melamine to it in order to enable it to pass a certain test (called the Kjeldahl protein test) after Sanlu rejected earlier shipments.

I don't know which fact is worse--the two brothers at the aforementioned supplier who completely disregarded consumer safety by adding the melamine, the fact that Sanlu only notified stores and not consumers, or the fact that nobody would have known about the problem until a New Zealand-based part-owner of Sanlu informed the New Zealand government about it, which then informed the Chinese government. You read that correctly--the New Zealand government was the first government to act on a China-based problem.

Finally, this morning, yet another college shooting took place in Finland. 10 are dead; the shooter turned the gun on himself and died from his injuries (which begs the question, why in the world didn't he take his life to begin with?).

And I've been thinking... We as a society need to maintain the same values that make us human in the first place--respect, compassion, love, moderation (the opposite of greed), and reject those values that hurt the quality of life such as greed, selfishness and violence. I am astounded by the number of people who know that something is wrong, but do it anyway; as well as those who know that it's wrong and yet don't fight against it.

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