Monday, September 22, 2008


Ten days traveling up and down the West Coast proved to me that the intent of those controlling the Wall Street joystick, with help of many ever-so-willing media pundits, failed to instill Panic and Fear in minds of most Americans. Concerns? Yes. Panic? Not so much.

Taxpayers have been hit with a hurricane of bad news, and have even been threatened with promises that if trillion dollar bailouts were not implemented overnight, the whole financial system of the U.S. and possibly the world, might collapse. The American economy is not failing, and unemployment is at a rate most other countries are envious of.

Since the real problem rests with lenders or repackagers of home loans that can’t be repaid, is anyone telling America’s taxpayers how much these losses really represent in total? No. Is it really almost a trillion dollars, or is it really much, much less? Is anyone asking where all this money went? When a house sold, affordable or not, someone cashed that check. Why are taxpayers told that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson needs to be given a blank check because only he will be able to do what is right, and he will know what backstops will be needed to provide a soft landing to this calamitous financial unraveling? Did he do what was right when he was head of Goldman Sacks for six years? Is it that he should be respected because he made almost a billion dollars as CEO of Goldman Sacks? His power and dominance continue their trajectory, and if he is given a carte blanche on access to taxpayer’s money, we can expect more abuse. Providing even more latitude to the likes of Goldman Sacks to become banks, is simply a knee-jerk reactive agreement to further consolidation of power.

Congress is not stepping up to the plate and neither are the two Presidential Candidates who are too busy flailing on the stump. If this is really the calamity we are all being led to fear, then all should be in Washington, coming up with immediate solutions. Bailouts are not solutions, just like band-aids are not a cure.

Don’t believe the panic-button pushers. Panic misleads, and it blinds those led to panic from seeing reality, or discerning appropriate action. Panic also leads to extreme swinging of pendulums that create new problems rather than resolve old ones.

It remains that America is a country that billions of people wish they could live in. America is the country that people have confidence in and whose environments they wish could be replicated. Its environment stimulates the entrepreneurial spirit that is further fueled by its creativity. It is also the only country that all capital gravitates toward when it is seeking security. The economic fluctuations, even those such as the ones we are currently witnessing or getting hurt by, caused by abuse or bad management, or even from errors in judgment, are risks accepted by those whose cash is seeking safe harbor. Transparency is one aspect favoring foreign investments in America, however, it is not the principal one. The overriding element is America’s power and international presence.

Whether you are a dictator in Africa, or an oil monarch pillaging your country’s wealth, or a foreign government fund, you will always place a significant portion of your cash where it is safe. America will print more dollars because it can, and it will have a market for them. The doomsayers all make money somehow, somewhere in the game, or just repeat nonsense they’re been fed. There are also those who feint left, then go right. Remember Goldman Sachs’ forecast that oil was heading to $200 a barrel when it was kissing $150? The price immediately caved in following their announcement. Were they looking for fish onto which to dispose of positions? This is no time to panic. Tighten up the belt a little, and save a few dollars. Middle America will ride this out in spite of its Wall Street leaders. However, American taxpayers should make sure their representatives in Washington take action on oversight, and implement some visible house cleaning, punishment on those responsible for the outlandish abuse.

1 comment:

  1. Well put.

    We can either take the pain now, or take the pain later. I say now and let the chips fall as they may. If we choose to take the pain later, who knows in what environment the dollar will be in. Let Wall street fall on their sword and let the rest of America get on with their lives, albiet with a lot less credit, which in my book wouldn't be such a bad thing. I believe it is time America wakes up and gets back to fundamentals of saving a dollar here and there rather than spending every last cent of the latest gadget or must have.