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As Long as We Remember...

September 26, 2008

Donít Panic!

Steven R. Berryman

…With those words, and the threat of bipartisan congressional intervention, you may wish to do exactly that. Any rush to solution is certainly against the best interests of the citizens of the United States of America.


In fact, anyone who causes you to have to consider a quick and rash decision on handing your money over to a defunct or defaulting company, regardless of size or excuse, is part of the systemic problem we now face.


Your advisors and potential saviors involve the ranks of those that took us on this ride.


Congress is faced with a recess? Fine. If they willingly stay without the commensurate grandstanding, then maybe we should keep some of the members. If their excuse is to head for the door, consider your options as voters!


Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has announced a “suspension of his presidential campaign.” As the bloom is off the rose concerning vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, he has little to lose by coming home to Washington. That’s right…it’s his home!


The first page of Senator McCain’s email to the faithful on September 24 included: “America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees.”


My advice is to question assumptions and to take nothing on faith. The stakes are too high.


For example, “historic” is a matter of perspective…and what of the timing that allowed the precipitation of the “crises?” Who did this timing serve? And…


“Credit will dry up” is the next part. Should we allow some failures of the poor companies involved to go under, as is the consequence of greed and poor risk assessment…would this not invite new investment on this condition, perhaps at a justly high deserved rate?


“Devastating consequences” comes next: try being part of the current middle class of society, that includes me and my three teenagers, and family of five evolving into college…it is already a game set up to my distinct disadvantage with the lending programs at hand, stacked towards the lenders in benefit!


“People will no longer be able to afford a home?” comes now: Whatever did we do in the past that allowed for the owner of a property for sale to assume the trust personally and take monthly payments as agreed upon? Time for some real creative financing ideas!


“Life savings at risk” is next. So what if your nest egg is secured at the cost of a $700 billion “bail out” program, which is really a give-away? Econ-101 will tell you that an infusion of cash into the money supply – for example, by buying up worthless land assets – is 98 percent inflationary in result.


What will you do with your United States of America paper currency, based upon the “fiat” money system left over from President Richard M. Nixon while leaving the gold standard, when your saw-buck is worth just three single quarters of silver-plated coin in a year?


What of Senator (Barack) Obama’s Democratic plan? Socialization of industries already fits within his purview, so maybe he is “the man” at this point!


It’s not about a “bail-out.” That’s because your Government (big G) has no right to hand out your money willy-nilly to poor businessmen. The Constitution does not allow for that. And why should we as a nation essentially subsidize golden parachutes and exorbitant salaries and bonuses?


In Japan, for example, a CEO’s salary is limited by law to be a simple multiple of the average worker in that given company, say between 20 and 50 times of that average.


My specifications for a response to the current quagmire that I refuse to call a crisis include:


*Don’t panic – Really. This knee-jerk response alone to quick legislative intervention is suspect prima facie. And on ending a term…? Clinton only pardoned cronies!


*Allow bad businesses to fail. – This very act will allow the actual value to go down and perhaps attract speculative purchasers.


*The above also allows risk to remain in the system; really the only check and balance with teeth. No downside equals poor competitiveness!


*Consider legislation to limit performance bonuses to actual performance for corporate moguls. What a concept!


*Pursue the root causes of the triggers to our current dilemma. This includes creative unregulated profit tools, such as obscure derivatives, and short selling and futures, along with the rules of the game.


*Analyze the political correctness that led to sub-prime mortgages being forced on lenders by socially sympathetic push groups, like ACORN.


*Analyze those greedy lenders that willingly booked their profit based on this last item, damn the consequences!


That’s a down payment on real recovery. Don’t be deceived by a rush to have Congress recess!


In a just world…these are the consequences.


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