Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gout and the Bailout

So $700 billion later do we really think anything is going to change? One thing government has proven is that they can't run a business, let alone government.

I would like to relate this to my experience with gout. A few years back I was diagnosed with chronic gout. My body has an inability to eliminate uric acid so it form crystals and settles into a joint (in my case it's usually the ankle). What's it like? The most extreme pain I have every felt. There is nothing you can do to stop it. A bed sheet, let alone and ice pack is too painful to put on it. The mere effect of the Earth's rotation causes immense discomfort. So you take enough ibuprofen to make your stomach bleed, prop your foot way up on a pillow and pray for no light breezes that would cause the slightest bit of pressure on the aching joint.

There is medicine that can help control the uric acid levels in the body. I take alopurinol to help with this. One pill a day and lots of water to avoid kidney stones and I am good! But it doesn't really solve the problem of my body not being able to get rid of uric acid on it's own, just like the $700 billion won't fix the problem.

There is some other reason for my gout. Ok, it could be hereditary, but neither mom nor dad ever had this problem and neither did their folks(beside it ruins the analogy). I think my grand father has had an attack or two in recent years, but he's 90 something and all sort of things are happening. I have a litany of other problems: overweight, high cholesterol, borderline high blood pressure, a diet made up mostly of includes soda, sugar, carbs and meat, and for most of my adult life very little exercise. Aha! Now I'm not Gregory House M.D. but I think I have found the problem.

Western medicine prescribes drugs to help with the cholesterol, the blood pressure, and the uric acid. This should help with the symptom without ever requiring me to change my lifestyle.

Now getting back to the bailout. Banks wrote risky loans, they now have portfolios which are worthless, and they are having trouble with liquidity. Does the $700 billion cure the problem. No, it doesn't even relieve the symptoms. If the current crisis were gout, the $700 billion is the ibuprofen I would take during an attack to help relieve pain, but it doesn't even help the symptoms. Sure we could add the oversight a regulations, and we could go on and take 3 pills a day to keep the symptoms in check, but it's not the cure.

As long as special interests group continue to push home ownership for everyone, this won't stop. We need to stop lending money to people who can't afford to pay it back. Stop pushing people into too much of a house. The blame does not just reside in the lenders. They get pressure from special interests group who shout some sort of "ism" if their group's demographic doesn't get a loan. Greed from real estate agents who pressure brokers to get someone qualified for a home they can't afford just so they can get the sale. Borrowers who agree to terms of loans they just cannot realistically pay back. We need to get off of our diet of soda and chips, and start exercising a bit to fix the problem, otherwise we will find ourselves with another flare up require another $700 billion ibuprofen. Cure the problem just don't alleviate the symptoms.

No comments: