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Columns

September 23, 2008

Travels with Uncle Chet: Gov't won't bail out taxpayers

COLUMBUS _ ``Don't give 'em a dime unless they're willing to go public,'' said Uncle Chet, who sat across from me at the card table.

``They say some companies are too big to fail,'' said Alice.

``They'll say anything to get their hands on your money.'' He stared at his cards. ``If they're making us taxpayers eat the bad debt, we should get the good debt, too. Why should we be punished for someone else's pyramid scheme?''

``I'll go two,'' said Hon.

``Three,'' I said.

``They're telling us we can't afford national health care, which we obviously need, then just last week they coughed up $85 billion to buy AIG, an insurance company we obviously don't need,'' he said.

``Now that's leadership,'' I said.

``I just don't think Uncle Sammy should swallow another trillion in debt to bail out financial gangsters,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Let me ask you this: Did they cut us in when they made their billions, buying their islands, living high on the hog?''

``No way,'' I said.

``If this were happening the other way around, would they open their wallets to the average Joe and Josephine?'' he asked.

``Bye me,'' said Alice, tossing long white hair, like Emmylou Harris', side to side.

``Now if I were a rich broker, a kingmaker, I'd go four; then if I didn't make it, I'd whine about how I'm too big and important to lose this game of cards,'' said Uncle Chet.

``Does that mean you're passing?'' said Hon.

``At my age, don't even say that,'' he said. ``Yes, I'm relying on my partner.''

``Spades,'' I said, and laid down the ace in this backwoods game of pitch _ high-low-jack game.

Alice had no spades, Uncle Chet had the deuce and that gave us high and low. Hon grew quiet, sloughing off a card, and I knew that's where the trouble would be coming from.

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