I have something to say that needs to be said.
It's up to you to decide if it needs to be heard.
The market, for all intents and purposes, has become a two-faced jerk. It preaches one thing. It practices something else. If Mr. Market had a Facebook page, I would send it a friend request, if only for the pleasure of de-friending the institution that betrayed me first.
Take a step back. Heck, take two steps back. The further you distance yourself from the desperate bailouts, flawed stimulus packages, and half-baked corporate practices, the clearer the picture becomes. Spoiler alert: It's not a pretty picture.
Some of the things unfolding under the shadowy pretenses of fixing the market are the very things that will threaten to kill it. It's hypocrisy at its cruelest.
The world according to TARP
I am not the bank analyst guy. I'm not the financial services guru. I'm the guy that feels more in my element when I'm walking my turf of covering leisure companies like Internet stocks, amusement parks, restaurants, and whoopee cushion makers.
However, let me give you my simpleton perspective as to why the government bailouts will fail. It was somewhere around the time that Citigroup
We're taking the weakest players in the banking industry, handing them taxpayer dollars, and making them even weaker by turning them into lab mice that must obey the public's every demand. You can't pay your CEO that! You can't flush $34,000 of our money away on an office toilet! Did you get me to sign off on those dividend checks?
I used to feel sorry for well-managed companies like Hudson City Bancorp
It's become perfectly clear to me that any company that has to live under the heat lamp of being told what they can pay, what bonuses they can dole out, and how they can entertain potential clients are doomed. Morale and motivation, when shackled, will only attract the complacent.
In short, the TARP is a cyanide tablet. Consume at your own risk.
I'm kicking myself for not catching it sooner. The eureka moment should have been when the country was aghast that the CEOs of Ford
Don't get me wrong. No one should hand over assistance blindly. Bailouts can't be unconditional. What someone needs to explain to a numbskull like me is how tightening the screws on incompetent companies is going to make them more competent?
If I belt out "let the bodies hit the floor," it's a cold tune, but how is that different than the slow death that will consume the recipients on our collective tab?
We chastise former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain for a $1,400 trash can, but we only care after the fact.
We're hypocrites. What's worse is that we're becoming apathetic hypocrites.
Beyond the bailouts
We've been numbed to the point that we're not asking the right questions.
How could regulators get away with delaying the Sirius XM Radio
Why are we letting the telcos and cable providers that deliver both cable programming and Internet access cap our bandwidth usage? It's a deliberate ploy to kill the online video revolution that will make cable subscriptions obsolete, yet the market looks the other way?
"We are starting to see the beginnings of core cutting where people -- typically young people -- are saying all I need is broadband," Time Warner Cable
We're idiots, aren't we? We lend a hand when we should walk away. We look away when we need to pay attention.
We're going to get what we deserve, but who am I to judge? At least I realize that I'm a hypocrite, too.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz likes to shoot straight, even at curved targets. He does not own any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.