Nick Nichols

The moment I read the front page of the Washington Post on Wednesday I knew that the folks who enjoy spending other people’s money (OPM), while calling it corporate social responsibility, were prepared to use every available weapon to convince the rest of us that it would be socially irresponsible if we fussed about the government taking our money to bail out those who bet on the wrong numbers in the housing market.

Below the fold in the lower corner of the front page was an article by Washington Post staff writer Steve Hendrix headlined: “Losing a Best Friend Along With the House.” The article claimed that local animal shelters were being overrun by dogs, cats, and other pets abandoned by families “forced from their homes” by foreclosures. There was no mention of the real estate weasels that convinced these people they could buy a McMansion on a McDonald’s salary. Nor was there any mention of the hyenas who, despite warnings from legitimate bankers, bought houses they could not afford with the assumption that the government would give them OPM when their cash ran out.

Hendrix quoted a shelter employee: “Now every week we’re seeing whole families come in to say good-by to a longtime pet because they have to move. We’ve had a lot of children in tears.” Having yanked at every available heart-string, the man from the Post concluded with a quote from another columnist, Elizabeth Weintraub, who opined that, “You feel for the owners of these places, but the animals are suffering too.”

At the risk of irritating Truper, our 120-pould Rottweiler, and Cammy, our Malamute-Shepard wonder dog, I must admit that while I hate to see any child or animal pay for the stupidity of those who claim to be adult humans, I truly feel for those of us who must now shoulder the burden created by the two-legged weasels and hyenas that helped create the economy we are in today.

I believe it is time for taxpayers to start asking some tough questions:

Why is it that our elected officials and activist groups spend most of their time attacking and taxing businesses that provide jobs and strengthen our economy, while scheming about ways to bail out the weasels and hyenas among us?

When did owning a home become a constitutional right in this country? We have a right to acquire property. We don’t have a right to own property if we can’t afford it.

Would the sub-prime mortgage crisis have occurred if executives of lending institutions had focused on the long-term financial health of their companies and their shareholders, rather than posing for corporate social responsibility awards by providing loans to people who were ill-equipped to pay them back?


Nick Nichols

Nick is a retired crisis communications executive. He also developed and taught graduate-level crisis management courses at the Johns Hopkins University. Nick is the author of Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns. He is a Vietnam veteran.