My savings have been wiped out by incompetence on the part of government officials on both sides of the pond, yet I still face paying the bill for the wastrels who have brought the global economies to their knees.
Behaving myself, with only the merest of occasional lapses, had left me with a sense of having fulfilled my responsibilities as a citizen of this world. The enjoyment continually foregone looked to have provided a bulwark against indigence in my old age.
Then came Alan Greenspan. Greenspan, as chief of the Fed, decided that saved money should no longer earn interest. The argument, that this was necessary to encourage those who had no money to earn some, was idiocy itself.
People duly began borrowing money, most noticeably in the mortgage market, that they had no hope of repaying. Greedy banks and brokers abetted this process, but no one seemed to notice until 2008. By then, I had transferred my savings to the stock market, so that they might keep pace with inflation.
Within a few months, my portfolio sank in value by 70 percent. The majority of my hard work and forbearance was wiped out. The markets recovered and I made back much of what had been lost. Then came President Obama and the Tea Party, a convocation of clowns without authority or common sense, and the Greeks and Italians and Spaniards--and finally this summer some brutish British thugs--and my savings were again slam-dunked into the toilet. I won't see that money again in my lifetime, even if I live another 30 years.
What money I have left will be taken from me to provide more tax receipts to pay for the damage caused by those who will not work, but would rather steal the plasma TVs and footwear they feel is their due.
Politicians around the world are interested only in themselves. Few, if any, bring vision or insight to their job. We have worked for most of our lives and paid our taxes without cheating. We have used our credit cards and mortgage facilities wisely and always repaid what we borrowed. We have accumulated nest eggs so that we might enjoy old age and our children might enjoy a small leg-up.
The greedy, the delinquent, the irresponsible and the incompetent have destroyed the global economy, yet it is savers who will have to bail them out. Our equivalent in the corporate world is, of course, the insurance companies, whose prudence, common sense and good management helped them to largely avoid the worst excesses of the many recessions and catastrophes they have weathered.
It is to us and the insurance companies that a morally and financially bankrupt world must look for money, since we're the only ones who have any.
ROGER CROMBIE is a London-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®.
October 1, 2011
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