Cash for Souls
By J.J. Jackson
"Have I got a deal for you," smiles the tall, thin gentleman in the black suit and properly anointed with a straight, and equally black, tie. His toothy grin parts to ease your fears, "All your dreams can come true. Just sign on the dotted line. And don't worry; it won't cost you anything that you need in this lifetime."
How many Americans would do just that? Judging by the mess that we are in these days apparently a lot of people would. You know it is a devil's bargain, literally, but hey what have you got to loose? Promises, promises everywhere, but rarely one that will be kept, at least the way you think it will be.
In the 2007 movie adaptation of the Marvel comic book series Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze is visited by a stranger in the night, a demon named Mephisto, who has just such a deal. To save his father from what is now terminal cancer, all Mephisto wants in return is the soul of the young boy who would do anything to save his father. The deal is struck and in the morning his father is cured of cancer and healthy. But the deal takes a dark turn as Johnny's father dies performing a circus stunt just a little while after learning the news. The deal was fulfilled but apparently the fine print was what was really important.
Realizing he had been duped, Blaze tries to run. He hops on is motorcycle, leaves his childhood sweetheart and his whole life behind to try and escape from the deal. But you cannot outrun evil and Mephisto eventually finds him and imbues him with dark powers to do his dirty work for him claiming his soul.
Granted that is all in the movies, but we still have a lot of people selling their souls in the real world too by the looks of things. Most recently we had Cash for Clunkers; a program where automobile manufacturers, dealerships and many in the buying public made a deal with the devil ... uh I mean the government. Same thing I know. That deal involved the expenditure of monies from the Treasury … well, not even from the Treasury actually since we are running a deficit. Actually the deal involved the expenditure of future money to be collected from both themselves, other Americans and all the children and future children of Americans to offer up cash incentives for buying new cars (approved by the government) and trade in those old "clunkers" for destruction even though many of them (the vast majority actually) were still in fine condition.
Auto dealers and manufacturers got a nice boon to their business for those couple weeks where the program was in effect. People looking to take advantage of a government willing to give them "free" money to spend also got a nice reward for their own end of this pact with the devil. Now? Well, the fine print has kicked in. Showrooms across the country are like ghost towns once again now that the program has ended. Some are reporting even worse sales than before the invention of the Cash for Clunkers program. People who needed cars or just wanted one have bought. Now who is left? Well, let's just say that people who do not need or want new cars are not doing the industry and favors without "free" money sitting on the table.
The sad sacks in the media fell all over themselves to report about how great those selling automobiles were doing while Cash for Clunkers was in effect. Never mind the fact that the government was not paying them in the timely manner that was promised and that only once it started to become publicly known how poor of a job government was doing did things start to change. Sound familiar? That little reality about government was mostly overlooked. All that matter was that, for the time being, the cars were flying off the lots and out of the showrooms. Everyone that needed or wanted a new car or thought that they would need or want a new car sometime in the near future boosted sales for a couple weeks. Now comes the crash.
Oops. Maybe you should have read the fine print. Yeah, that would have been good because economics tells us that when you artificially inflate demand for a product in the short run you crash and burn in the long run. When you ram six months of sales into a couple weeks by dangling the carrot in front of stubborn consumers with a deal too good to pass up the rest of the weeks in those six months are going to be painfully slow for business.
So many Americans just saw the contract put before them and thought it sounded good to them. After all the money being spent was not theirs. Or was it? Well, yes and no. The money that they accepted has to eventually come from somewhere and it will come out of all of our wallets either due to higher costs charged by industry, inflated prices from deflated dollars due to government debt that is piling up or some other economic factor that rules the natural order of the universe. It is also money that will come from the pockets of our children; all of our children.
But hey, it did not cost us anything in the here and now right? It just cost us our immortal souls as we violated the rights of others to take money from their pockets to pay for our wants and desires today.
The problem with selling your soul however is that you only have one to sell. That means you can only sell it once. Unless of course you buy it back that is and we all know that the devil never gives up the souls he has taken. So each time you sell your soul after the first you are just selling the souls of your children and your children's children and so on for "free money" today.
But they will have a whole life time to figure out how to fix this mess right? What is really important is that you got what you thought was coming to you now. Right?
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor contributor to American Conservative Daily and also the founder of SignalCongress.com. He is the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.
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