I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I thought at first that I had stumbled upon a Saturday Night Live-type spoof, or that a similar local satire had made it to the airwaves. There was Mayor Shirley Franklin, her trademark oversized flower on her left shoulder, declaring that the city of Atlanta is in need of a "federal rescue plan." And she was dead serious.
Heaven help us, y'all! The whole world is looking for a federal bailout.
Congress just spent $700 billion of our money on a bailout plan - and that's what it is you know: our money. I've never known the government to hold a bake sale. When they spend money, it is the money that they have confiscated from the taxpayers. Please don't ever lose sight of that fact. We fought a revolution over that back in 1775, and our Uncle Sam is far greedier than John Bull ever thought of being in the 18th century.
But we were talking about bailout plans. The government has propped up AIG and they continue to spend millions on weekend flings for their investors and executives. I enjoy a good time as much as the next person, but I just don't want folks flying first class to tropical resorts, staying in five-star hotels and eating lavish meals and enjoying extravagant parties on my dime.
Of course, there were safeguards built into that bailout plan that were supposed to guarantee that none of that stuff happened, but according to the newscast I heard Thursday morning, one-fourth of the money has already been spent and none of those safeguards have been implemented yet.
And $700 billion just won't go as far as it used to, so now Congress is talking about needing more. They held a big press conference Wednesday to announce that they were not going to spend the money exactly how they said they were. Raise your hand if you are surprised to hear that.
Say, you there. The only person in North Georgia with your hand raised. I think I can get you a great deal on some oceanfront property near Phoenix, Ariz. Just e-mail me your name and bank account number and I will take care of the rest.
Where will this bailout frenzy end? First it was banks and then mortgage companies and now it is the credit card companies and the car manufacturers - and if Shirley Franklin gets her way, American cities.
Why should it end there? If the federal government is going to be everything to everybody, I have a few suggestions for some other bailouts they should undertake. The city of Atlanta isn't the only thing that needs a little propping up.
For instance, I think the government should bail out the Georgia defense. They have given up 125 points in the last three games and with Auburn and Georgia Tech left on the schedule, they could sure use a couple of big, strong pressure ends - and maybe a defensive back or two
And the airlines need a little propping up, too. They are having to charge folks 15 and 20 bucks just to check their bags, and the last time I flew there were only three peanuts in the little package they gave me - and they gave my entire family one canned Coke and five straws. I am sure they could use a rescue plan.
Speaking of the airlines, wasn't gasoline about $4 a gallon when they added the fuel surcharge and started all this other foolishness? I paid $1.73 in Lexington last week, so when are their prices going to drop?
My daughter's grades could use a little propping up, too. She has been right busy lately with piano and band rehearsals, play practice, and all her church activities. If the government could send a little grade relief her way, it would be greatly appreciated. If she could get about 10 extra points in math and maybe seven or eight in biology, she might actually get in Georgia next year and get to watch them play poor defense from the student section.
On a more personal level, I could use a federal bailout for my business, too. I have a brand new book out and sales are quite slow. It's not my fault though. The book is surprisingly good. In fact, it may be my best one yet, and I knew that everyone would be buying them for Christmas presents, so I printed a whole bunch of them. I'm going to be hurting if I don't get some relief. Congress should step in and send out notices to all taxpayers, reminding them that they can order a book online.
Or maybe they could send me a few billion dollars and I can forget about trying to sell books and throw a big party at a tropical resort. Hey, it worked for AIG.
Something tells me they aren't going to do that, so maybe you can bail me out. The book is "All Fifty," and the address is www.darrellhuckaby.net.
Meanwhile, I think I will campaign against a bailout for the Georgia Tech offense. They come to Athens in two weeks, and their option offense looks plenty scary to me.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.