Some Companies Deserve to Fail
Why we shouldn’t bail out the airlines and cruise companies
America is a terrible place to be stupid.
Lenin said nothing can happen for decades, and then decades can happen in weeks. Yes, a pandemic pulls the future forward, and there’s a lot to learn. Another phenomenon that forms rain clouds of perspective is, wait for it… death. Or, specifically, being close to it.
My father is approaching 90, recently divorced (for the fourth time), and spends his days watching replays of Maple Leafs games and abusing Xanax. His affinity for Xanies is a feature, not a bug, since at the end of your life “long-term effects” lose meaning. He’s near the end, exceptionally intelligent, and high. In sum, he’s my Yoda.
Our calls are mostly me yelling short questions (“HOW ARE THE LEAFS LOOKING FOR NEXT YEAR?”) and waiting for something profound in return. Occasionally he delivers.
“You must unlearn what you have learned!”
Just kidding, Yoda did actually say that. But when I asked him what he thinks makes America different, he said:
“America is a terrible place to be stupid.”
That’s why he immigrated here. A pillar of capitalism is you can’t reward the winners without punishing the losers. I worry our government has been co-opted by the wealthy and is focused on protecting the previous generation of winners, even if it means reducing future generations’ ability to win. Aren’t we borrowing against our children’s prosperity to protect the wealth of the top 10, if not 1, percent?
In Depression-era Scotland, my dad was physically abused by his father. His mother spent the money he sent home from the Royal Navy on whiskey and cigarettes. He took a huge risk and came to America. My mom took a similar risk, leaving her two youngest siblings in an orphanage (her mom and dad had both died in their early fifties), and bought a ticket on a steamship. She had a small suitcase and 110 quid that she hid in both socks. Why? Because they wanted to work their asses off and be rewarded for the risks they were willing to take. This is capitalism, a beacon of hope for people who are smart, hardworking, and…