I dunno… I have this creeping dread that what I’m about to say will cost me my Progressive credentials or something. It somehow feels creepily… Conservative…

The people who want The Bailout want to use the US Treasury as their slush fund.

Back when I was an underemployed, underpaid customer-service guy at a Kinko’s store, I made a joke one day about a slush fund. The woman preparing the deposit as I said it looked at me solemnly and instructed me that we were never to make references to “slush funds,” even in jest. Puzzled, I asked what was wrong with it—wasn’t a slush fund just a slang term for petty cash or other kinds of reserves? No, she explained, the phrase had a technical meaning in banking circles, and the meaning was always shady: It meant that whatever fudging was going on was unethical.

My Canadian friend Justin, who is underemployed and underpaid in a customer-service job, says that it’s patently illegal in Canada to top off the till from your own pocket if your drawer is short when you count it at the end of your shift. I suppose that’s why Sarah at Kinko’s all those years ago told me that it wasn’t even to be joked about.

Yet now I see that a whole lot of world leaders and people in the banking industry want to use taxpayer money as the nation’s slush fund.

Me, I like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland)’s idea (guess I can’t be too awfully conservative, then, can I?). Don’t donate public money to private enterprises. Do what poor and/or frugal people everywhere do when they can’t afford to pay our bills: barter. At least have the decency to sell shares of your stock to the people who are being drafted into service as your knights on white horses. I don’t really care if that means selling stock to 300-odd million people. You bastards don’t cut us any slack, why should we cut you any? Do what needs to be done. That’s what you make your collections people tell us when they badger us at all hours of the day.

The best I can figure out is that the people who are too poor to buy stock are now being asked to give money to the people who are too irresponsible to turn their principal into interest and dividends, without even getting shares in return. We weren’t willing to shell it out when we had the chance to make money with it, and now you want us to shell it out when there’s no chance that we’ll make money with it. Uh huh.

As songwriter Fred Bailey would say, “Not without a condom!”

Cronyism trumps “No-Big-Government” every time, don’t it?

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