Thursday, October 16, 2008

Warning: Potential Diplomatic Incident

I was interviewed on video this evening by El Tiempo, one of the newspapers in Bogota, Columbia. (That is where I am working this week.) It seems as though my translator is also an editor for the Financial section of the newspaper, and that they thought it might be interesting to have the opinion of an American citizen on the American economy, the Bailout, and the future; since they had one at their disposal.  

I was asked whether I thought that the Bailout was necessary.  
I stated that it appeared that the market had been in need of a correction for some time, and that it appeared to have finally gotten one. Government precipitated this by pressuring the banking industry to loan money to people who couldn't pay it back, and that eventually the banking industry was proved right in their assessment. These loans, passed up the investment food chain by the unscrupulous part of the banking industry eventually caused business failure in many of those organizations. Those failures in turn created a good part of the financial crisis that in turn led to the market crisis. Interference by the government didn't change those facts, but might lengthen the time frame for the resolution of the situation.

I was asked whether the Bailout was successful. 
I stated that the bailout was designed to address the market and credit crisis, but recent market fluctuations have so far proved otherwise.  

I was asked if the Bailout was of concern to me. 
I stated that it very much was. I said that I felt that the entire US economy had been placed in the hands of the Secretary of the Treasury in the rush to a solution. Placing that power and 700 billion dollars in the hands of a bureaucrat who doesn't run for election and will be leaving in a couple of months is scary. Leaving that power behind for whomever may follow is even scarier.  

I was asked if I was doing anything different as a result of the crisis. 
I replied yes, making little or no luxury purchases and paying my debt down as quickly as I can. I also said that I was looking forward to working longer, as I had probably just lost 30% of my retirement money in the market plunge.

I was asked if I had any idea when the crisis would end. 
I replied that a lot of people who were smarter than me about money were asking themselves the same question, and not coming up with an answer; so how could I be expected to. As I was being escorted back to my hotel for the evening, I was informed that this would not be the background material that I had thought, but that instead it would be broadcast on TV and placed on the El Tiempo website (I may provide the link as a laugh for all if and when they send it to me)

As a consequence of the use of this interview however, I now wish to state for the record that I deny any and all responsibility for anything said during it. I have been working long hours, have been oxygen deprived because of the altitude, had a rock in my shoe, the sun was in my eyes, I ran out of gas, I had to visit a sick friend.


These were simple remarks made by an even more simple American citizen and should not be presumed to reflect the policies of the American government or those of anyone with an IQ in double digits (categories that are often mutually exclusive).

Jeez, I hope they let me back in the country ...


kck_kat said...

Well, once again "a fine pickle you've gotten yourself into, Ollie". Gee, if the Dixie Chicks can go over to France and say they are embarassed that the President is from Texas, and actors galore can romp around the world spouting off about how bad America is, I would think they would overlook an average Joe who just told the truth, brutal as that can be. However, I'm not sure how much intelligence they really expect from the entertainment world anyway! Have a safe trip home and we'll start gathering money to hire a really top dog civil rights attorney now!

Hooda Thunkit said...


If you think that a character reference might help, I'll be more than happy to vouch for you being a character ;-)

BTW, how are the prison conditions in Bogota?

Just curious...


Tim Higgins said...

For all of those concerned, I did in fact make it across the border. The good news is that I no longer need a prostate exam. The bad news is ... I no longer need a prostate exam.

As one who has been gone for a while, I can only say, "God Bless America"!

Tim Higgins said...


As usual, you discerning perspective is right on the money.

As for the conditions, I simply stated (as many here in the US have done), "no habla".