Monday, February 28, 2011

In the Black

My best ideas often come to me when I'm doing something mundane, usually washing dishes, taking a shower or on a run. Last night when Don and I were washing the dishes after the Academy Awards, we were talking about the budget crises across the country, when a possible solution came to me.

Nonfinancial Fortune 500 companies that are sitting on $1.8 trillion could lend to the states. No handouts, but a business relationship. Keep people employed, and eventually the budget crises will be resolved, allowing these companies to be repaid in due time, even earning a profit. Sounds like the patriotic thing to do.

I can already hear the familiar refrain: "But that would be socialism." So tell me, how well are those companies going to fare if hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of state employees are laid off because their states are bankrupt? Unemployed people aren't buying GE refrigerators or smartphones--they're living off the government dole, they're cancelling cable, eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and doing whatever they need to do to make sure the bank doesn't foreclose on their houses--those who manage to keep their payments current under these circumstances. How's it going to prosper major corporations if elementary-school students are stuck in classes of 40 or more because a couple hundred or even a couple of thousand teachers in their districts were laid off?

Our country has asked thousands of people to defend our interests in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have died or been severely wounded. If we can ask soldiers to spill blood, it's not too much to ask corporations to spill their black ink.

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