It seems that every day another industry is asking the government for money.
First, it was the banks. Not all banks—let’s be sure to remember that there are hundreds of banks across the country that have not acted irresponsibly and continue to do right by their customers. You all know which ones I’m talking about. They are largely responsible for the mess our economy is in. Our government was glad to set up a program with around $900 billion in it and the banks were supposed to use that money to keep the credit markets open. They haven’t done that. In fact, it’s hard to get a straight answer on exactly what has been going on with all that money.

Next, it was the car companies. GM, the largest selling automobile manufacturer in the world, can’t manage to stay afloat. How can that be? Polls show that the American people are overwhelmingly against giving money to the automakers. Lots of smart people say the best way for them to get out of their current situation is to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would allow them to reorganize their debts, as well as renegotiate some pretty onerous union contracts. The Congress (barely) did the people’s business and refused to pass the bailout, but President Bush decided he knows better and gave them the money anyway.

I heard on the news yesterday that there are groups in the housing industry who are petitioning the government for some bailout money. Heck, why not? As long as we’re going to dump capitalism, you better get in line before the money dries up.

So, I recommend we all write to our congressional representatives and demand a bailout for you. Surely this economy has meant a downturn in your income. You deserve a bailout.

Not just you, either. Trade show attendance is down. I think the government needs to start cutting checks to all of the big trade shows. After all, it’s not their fault that you all can’t afford to go this year.

How about those of us who publish B-to-B magazines. This economy isn’t a walk in the park for us, either. As long as I’m asking the government for a bailout for you, couldn’t you put in a good word for me?

And, what about all of the people you do business with? Shouldn’t your local equipment dealer be getting a little government bailout?

How about the local truck dealership? You didn’t buy that new truck this year, so his kids aren’t going to camp this summer. Wait a minute, we already gave money to the auto industry. Will any of that money be given to the folks at the dealership? No, probably not. Let’s get them some!

With fewer customers, you’re burning less fuel. Shouldn’t your local gas station be getting some government assistance?

What about Starbucks? If you’re cutting back on lattes, I think we need to be mindful of how that affects the local coffee barista. Give them some dough.

Do you see where this ends?

I’ve talked with hundreds of you over the course of the last year. Most of you are feeling a little pinch (or a big pinch), but you’re doing what you must to get by. The smarter ones are using this economy as an opportunity, grabbing market share while some of your competitors are running scared. That’s the way a free, capitalistic market is supposed to work.

We are standing on a very slippery slope right now. Let’s hope Congress and the new administration listens to the will of the people and stops this bailout nonsense. As was proven back in the 1930s and ‘40s, the government can’t give out enough money to stimulate the economy back to health. None of Roosevelt’s programs did a thing to change the economy (it’s true, look it up). Getting us into World War II did that. Want some more examples? How about the Soviet Union. How about Cuba? Heck, even China got the message and is prospering because of their turning away from socialism and 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. It’s the only thing that works every time.