Friday, February 20, 2009

Rick Santelli's Rant

CNBC's Rick Santelli went off on a bender about Obama's housing plan. With a backdrop of stock traders behind him, Santelli decrys the notion of bailing out homeowners, half joking about a revolution and a "Chicago Tea Party".

Josh Hamilton is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers who batted .304 with 32 home runs during 2008. Drafted in 1999, Hamilton was one of the most promising young players in baseball, but essentially spent 2001-2007 inside of a crack pipe.


It is true that we need to know how we got to where we are. That's why we study history-understanding the past helps us understand the present.

But I think the larger point is that we need to go forward, and, as Bill Parcells used to say, you are what your record says you are. Spending time morally judging how we got here isn't helpful.

Santelli warns that the government is engaging in moral hazard by proposing to bail out homeowners who bought too much house. But they're in the house now-calling them names doesn't help them make the payment. And Santelli's trader pals were the bright folks who decided that bonds built on fairy dust and unicorn farming were a good investment strategy. And what ELSE are we going to do? Just let them drown, and take the banks down with them?

Josh Hamilton's not a hero, some people say. He did it to himself-no one forced him to pick up the pipe. He nearly kicked away a promising future-and possibly a slot in the Hall of Fame.

I don't believe in judging people for how they lived their lives. They did what they did-they made the mistakes they made. I'd rather ask- how can we help them going forward?

I'm not any happier about my tax money going to bail out homeowners than I was about it going to bail out bankers than I was about it buying exploding things that kill children. But government isn't a cafeteria, and these are our countrymen. They may not deserve it, but Americans help people when they need help, not necessarily when they deserve it.

Josh Hamilton crawled out of the crack pipe and back into his profession. Celebrating his return is not endorsing his drug abuse. Helping homeowners doesn't endorse poor decision making.

It's the smart thing to do-but more important, it's the right thing to do. The compassionate thing to do. The Christian thing to do.

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