Another fly on the wall: Bailout banter

To the editor:

I spied Fly-on-the-wall taking a break outside of his gun shop “haunt” on Broad avenue. “What’s the latest, Fly?”

“I’ve been battling Robert to change his wall calendar,” he puffed.

“Well, it’s a new month, I’m sure Mr. Lee will get around to it …” “

No,” retorted an agitated Fly, “he’s much further behind, and still thinks Obama and Hillary are ruining the country.”

“Yes, Fly, I saw his Feb. 3 piece grousing about a $10 billion shortfall in that long-ago auto bailout, but …”

Fly stopped me. “Don’t bother, I tried to warn him about what he left out.”

“You mean about the 1.5 million jobs imperiled if the auto industry had failed, along with all those appendant suppliers?”

“Exactly,” Fly shook his head, “… and I reminded him any first-grader could do the math. It works out to less than $7,000 per job.”

“That still sounds like a lot, Fly.”

“Au contraire,” Fly retorted, impressing me with his French, “… remember, jobless folks don’t pay taxes, but they collect government benefits.”

“So that $10 billion was really a bargain. Thanks for the epiphany, Fly, but wouldn’t the bankruptcy process have been more appropriate?”

Focusing on some discarded cookie crumbs, Fly turned snarky. “Oh yeah, bankruptcy would have been quick and efficient, the banks would have unfrozen its loans, qualified management would have taken control, independent suppliers would have ‘magically’ come back to life, and — presto! — assembly lines would have been humming again!”

“That wasn’t the world of 2008-2009, Fly! It took the Bush ‘troubled asset’ program and the Obama stimulus to really help.”

Through a mouthful of Oreo Fly chuckled. “Even thinking Republicans realized that government had to do what the private sector wasn’t prepared to do: Show up with a lot of money in a hurry!”

“Mr. Lee writes weekly columns, Fly, surely he gets it?”

Fly guffawed, “Oh yes, he will … on the same day that I flap my wings and morph into a butterfly!”

“Hmm … I get THAT, Fly! Later on.”

Douglas Smith

Rockingham

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