3:47 PM

We, the People,
Have Been Duped

Try as I might, but with the combination of a failing economy atop a nasty, mud-soaked Presidential campaign, it is really REALLY hard to focus just on aviation these days. With NBAA in full swing and dark clouds hanging over the entire GA sector, it is impossible to avoid the global financial meltdown that is effecting all of us in this business.

As we watched Washington shove their ridiculous $700+ Billion "redistribution of wealth" bill down America's throat last week, I am not the only one who had zero hopes that this administration could craft a bill that was going to work. Opponents say this bill smells like it was designed solely to pad the pockets of greedy Wall Street country club buddies who lost their asses on risky investments. Well, up on "The Hill" today, ABC News was adding fuel to that fire:

"In the first Congressional hearing into the financial crisis, the former CEO of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld, became the poster boy for Wall Street greed today as he defended the $484 million he received in salary, bonuses and stock options since 2000."
Maybe the above pullquote might be a great example of how/why we got into this mess in the first place...the CEO of a BANKRUPT former financial giant being paid millions. But if you think it's that kind of ethics that has ruined your chance to get an airplane loan, it gets worse over at Huffington Post:
"Lehman's Golden Parachutes Were Being Secured While Execs Were Pleading For Federal Rescue - The now-bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers arranged millions in bonuses for fired executives as it pleaded for a federal lifeline, lawmakers learned Monday, as Congress began investigating what went so wrong on Wall Street to prompt a $700 billion government bailout."
Pissed yet? I sure am. And while Congress was running for the cover of "recess" after doing Poulson's dirty work, AP was reporting that down the street at the FBI, more dirty deals were being investigated:
"The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned. Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American International Group Inc. Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also is under investigation."
So if you can't sell anything at NBAA, or get a loan to buy anything this week, there looks to be plenty of ethically-challenged clowns to blame. But wait, I thought we are all saved now that Poulson and his ex-Goldman Sachs whiz kids cobbled together a "rescue" plan that is supposed to save our economy. Well, how's that all working out:
"The Dow Jones industrials skidded more than 800 points and fell below 10,000 for the first time in four years, while the credit markets remained under strain. Financial markets took a despairing view of the future Monday, seeing contagion in a credit crisis that threatens to cascade through economies globally despite government efforts to provide relief. Investors around the world have come to the sobering realization that the Bush administration's $700 billion rescue plan won't work quickly to unfreeze the credit markets. Global banks, hobbled by wrong-way bets on mortgage securities, remain starved for cash as credit has dried up."
While the lame duck cowboy who did nothing to stop this mess spends eternity roping cattle on his ranch in Crawford, at every airport in the land, FBOs and flight schools are being shuttered, and pink slips flood the factory floors of anyone making anything related to aviation. Greed and corruption looks to have won, at least for the time being.

But if we can survive until 11.04.08 and a new Sheriff comes to Washington on 01.20.09, I can see an energized nation pulling together to somehow fix this next year. How is anyone's guess, but if you vote for the same guys that looked the other way to create this debacle, you get the economy you voted for.

Still undecided? For a serious dose of reality, click here.

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