Saturday, October 04, 2008

The end of an era

I am deeply concerned regarding the direction our government has taken to address the economic issues our country faces at this point.

It is appalling how our credit agencies and banks have abused their positions and exercised bad judgment at the expense of many Americans. Credit agencies have set themselves up on college campuses and encouraged 18 yr old kids to sign up for as many credit cards as possible, credit bureaus have looked the other way as we consumers scream about identity theft, Banks screamed for and received tougher bankruptcy laws while Washington looked the other way at their lending practices, and now mortgage companies seeing how D.C. operates have committed fraud. So, now, it’s all coming to a head.

Yes these practices are beyond reproach and should not go unpunished; however, taking such measures as nationalizing or socializing our financial institutions is the wrong direction to take. It is as important that our financial institutions be able to compete on an open, fair playing field as it is for companies like MacDonalds or Nike.

No business or institution can continue to succeed using such bad practices. Everyone would have learned it if cooler heads had stepped back and addressed this issue slowly and with reason. But when the government steps in to prevent these poorly run institutions from failing then their stable, intelligently managed competitors cannot succeed. Preventing the failure of bad policies prevents the success of good ones.

Preventing the reality of any given situation creates an environment of arrested development. Washington has prevented us and these banks from being able to discover which practices work and which ones don’t. The benefits of these lessons far outweigh their cost, the result of which would have set a strong precedence for future policies and a stronger future for both our banks and our market. Now our crisis is worse.

Placing these institutions into the hands of Washington does not induce confidence from the market place. Business owners, even small ones, know that the decision to socialize our banks is the worst decision Washington could have made for the future of our country especially at a time when the country has so little confidence in its leaders. We are a capitalist society. Even the least of us understand these principals and have become less confident in this plan.

Congress’s decision to go in session to discuss the policies and decisions that led to this crisis is absolutely worthless at this point. If they can neither comprehend why this bill is so harmful to our nation nor have the courage to stop it, then none of their analysis is going to amount to anything worthwhile. As a matter of fact, they might actually do us a favor if they spent their time bowling instead.

And then, what’s worst, is that this was sold to all of us but really only the wealthy members of this society are going to be protected. As our markets continue to drop and prices continue to plummet, driving more people out of business, and yes, our pension plans and mutual funds continue to become worthless, Washington has ensured that the wealthy stay protected and continue to be in a position to purchase these stocks and benefit from the profits.

I continue to be of the opinion that this administration has been hell bent on protecting and improving the financial status of the wealthy members of our society. The cost of this protection is the destruction of our free market system which is the only means by which any of us have to improve our economic standing. This is not Capitalism.

I don't believe that this is what either the Republican or Democratic party wanted but I am afraid that the result of this decision will lead to harder times; and the ideas, promises or plans that either candidate proposes during this campaign are moot. The only hope any of us has is a leader that understands how important it is that the fundamentals of Capitalism are valiantly protected.

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