OK, this is a little test. Pay attention, because it’s a little tricky.
A train leaving Paris is carrying a professional bicyclist who received a questionable blood transfusion and won many championships. At the same time, a train leaves Wall Street packed with billions of taxpayer dollars, much of which will go into the pockets of highly-paid executives. If both trains reach Washington, D.C. at the same time, which one will have to endure Congressional hearings?
If you answered Wall Street, get on your bike and go home. No, those guys will be OK. That train will just keep going. The other, however, may land in the hot seat in the Capital when Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known athletes of our time, will come face to face with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to answer charges that he has used illegal steroids and other substances in his career.
And you’re going to pay for it.
We all know what is going on in this Country and in this world, for that matter. Right here in New York, families continue to lose jobs and homes. Gas prices have reached epic, dizzying heights. Now more than ever, we need government to govern and help Americans, but alas, nobody is listening.
Three years ago the world did end, at least financially, when the greed of Wall Street and the blind eye of governmental deregulation collided and pushed the world’s economy to the brink of complete annihilation. The U.S. Government had to find the money to bail out some of world’s most prestigious investment banking firms, which had collapsed under the weight of the mythical real estate bubble. It was all phony, and when everything went wrong Washington took a hammer, smashed your piggy bank and frantically threw money at the problem. They called it a bailout. The lack of transparency that could tell struggling tax payers where their money went during the government’s bailouts rivals some of history’s great secrets. Don’t hold your breath waiting for those questions to be answered. There is too much money on the table—and passed under the table—for any member of Congress to ask the question.
So, in a diversionary tactic we have seen before, our resources will be spent on an empty, headline-grabbing show. The world will watch as Lance Armstrong is grilled about the use of illicit, performance-enhancing drugs. And nobody should care.
When Washington went after Mark McGwire and every other steroid-injecting ball player, the resulting impact on the population of America was the following: ZERO. The same thing happened with Barry Bonds, the home run king of Major League Baseball. Actually, something did happen. There is now an asterisk next to his home run record.
Perhaps there should be an asterisk next to the stock symbols of the Wall Street giants that stole your cash. Or, an asterisk next to the elected officials who let greed off the hook and allowed bailout money to disappear.
Lance Armstrong is more than an athlete. He is a brand. He is LiveStrong. He beat cancer and is the most prolific bicycle rider of all time. He dated a rock star. Sure, Lance is cool, but in the grand scheme of things, he is just a bicyclist. His alleged misdeeds are better left to his sport to deal with, not Washington.
While Americans continue to struggle to pay bills and Wall Street hands out huge bonuses just a few years after they took taxpayer cash to save themselves, there are still no answers to the simple question: where did the money go? Sadly, that means it will happen again. In 2008, the bailout amounted trillions of dollars.
You can buy a lot of bicycles with that kind of dough.