Editorial Director

The financial institutions fell one by one: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Bank of America, Citi. Even though it was their own greed and mismanagement that caused the problems (and sent our economy into a tailspin), we’ve handed out billions to these suits, and no one seems to know what they’re doing with it (other than buying each other up).

Then it was the car makers. When Congress finally (though barely) tried to do the will of the people and voted down the money, President Bush gave them some anyway.

Several sectors of the housing industry have asked for a bailout. Retailers have made their case why they should get a bailout. The states are all looking for a piece of the pie. Individual school systems have asked for some. Even the porn industry has petitioned the government for bailout money.

As I write this (in mid-January), Barack Obama is floating the idea of a possible $1 trillion federal bailout program. That’s $1 trillion. With a “T.” Do you know what that looks like? Here it is: 1,000,000,000,000. That’s 1 million million. That is more money than the entire amount of U.S. currency currently in circulation (which is about 900 billion).

As long as we’re printing and passing out money, why shouldn’t the tree care industry get some? You certainly have more of a day-to-day impact on the lives of taxpaying Americans than Bank of America or GM. You’ve been hit by the current economic crisis. You are mostly small or midsize businesses. Don’t we always hear about how businesses like yours are the backbone of our economy? So, where’s your bailout?

This, of course, is absurd. The government isn’t going to give you money any more than they are going to cut a check to Larry Flynt. That, of course, begs the question: Why not? Why are the banks worthy of money and not you? Why does GM get a nice, fat government check, but you still have to manage your finances all by yourself?

We are standing on a very slippery slope right now. Let’s hope Congress and the new administration listen to the will of the people and stop this bailout nonsense. The government can’t give out enough money to stimulate the economy back to health. That was definitively proven in the 1930s. None of Roosevelt’s programs did a thing to help us recover from the Great Depression. If you look up the stats, you’ll see that things were just as bad on the eve of our entry into World War II as they were throughout the previous decade. Look at the Soviet Union. Cuba. China finally got the message and has prospered because of their turning away from government control and turning towards capitalism and entrepreneurship.

We don’t need a bailout, in this industry or in any other. Hard work is what will get our economy humming again. What the government should be doing is getting out of our way and passing some laws that put more private capital back into the economy (instead of it going into government coffers). It’s the only thing that works every time.