September 29, 2008
When the wheels of government and commerce come grinding to a halt, we will need some way to get around. Bicycles will cost less than the current government bailouts.
Now, don't laugh. Just hear me out for a sec. Assume we have 80 million workers and 20 million teenage school children who could get to work and school by bicycle. This is the heart and soul of our economy, and our future economy, isn't it? That's 100 million bicycles needed.
Now like in any war, I'm quite certain bicycle producers could produce serviceable bicycles for $100 each (not these fancy things you see for $400 and more).
That's 100,000,000 x $100 = $10 billion.
Let's say that I'm off by a factor of 2 as to the number of people who could use a simple bicycle to get to work or school (which I may be), and I'm off by a factor of 2 as to price (which I am not).
That would be 200,000,000 x $200 = $40 billion.
The AIG bailout was $85 billion, by itself. The Iraq War costs at least $10 billion per month. The current Wall Street bailout plan (misnomer for sure) is $700 billion. The cost to the economy will be staggering, even if no plan, or some alternate plan, is passed. According to CNET the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout cost us $200 billion, the Bear Stearns financing took $29 billion, and, well, the list just gets longer.
So by comparison, I'm suggesting we stop all the bailouts, take our hit, say shame on you to all the bright executives and politicians who failed to avoid all this, and give ourselves all free bicycles. With side baskets for groceries.
This will keep us moving, save the environment, avoid paying anything for gasoline, reduce our collective weight, reduce the occurrence of diabetes and the risk of heart attacks, lower future healthcare costs, and stop all car thiefs in their tracks.
Maybe, you think, a free bicycle program wouldn't work. Thiefs would just steal them. Good. They are FREE. So just go get another one. Go to work. Go to school. For FREE. This may not help keep enough people employed, or lower the cost of a safe home and decent living environment for all Americans, but it would be a start.
And if you think this is really off base, then I suggest it may at least get us thinking about what the right questions are. Someone should actually try prioritizing our public spending decisions a little better, and a little more openly and truthfully. The Presidential candidates could have actually answered Jim Lehrer's question about the financial crisis (rather than just deciding to slam each other for a few more votes). And a whole bunch of people, respectfully, in Washingon and on Wall Street, should do the honorable thing, and simply resign.
And maybe someone in the national media could actually report on all this nightly in a thoughtful and intelligent, rather than headline grabbing, sound-bitey, sort of way. Have you noticed how they like to say that a report which lasts more than 30 seconds is "in depth?" Are you kidding me? You know, the last I checked, those public airwaves were supposed to be public, and not merely a vehicle for selling the latest prescription cure-all. I think a few people in the national media should also do the honorable thing, and resign.
Unless the world collapses, I'm going to go back to philosophical issues. Good. Yah, I heard you. Well, we'll see. No, I mean it. I really want to know what you think about the meaning of life. Too big a topic? Yah, probably. Hey, I won't charge you anything if you want to guest author a piece or write a comment. Luv'n it.