Another hot button issue: Is the sky really falling?

Maybe it’s just me but over the last two weeks, I’ve found it hard to keep up!  One catastrophe after another seems to be befalling our global financial systems (aka. a house of cards).  I am a music major who became a marketer.  What do I know about economics or finance?  Scarily, I suspect that there are members of Congress who are as fuzzy as I am on this imminent  financial apocalypse. 

In March of 2008, the CEO of Lehman Brothers got a 22 Million Dollar BONUS five months before his company declared bankruptcy in August.  And he’s not the only CEO to walk away with millions in BONUSES after COMPLETELY FAILING at his job.  Maybe I don’t understand the concept of “the bonus” because I’ve been in the music business but I thought you got those when you do significantly better at your job than was expected of you.  Staying in business seems like a pretty basic expectation.    

 Again . . . I was a music major who turned into a marketer. . . BUT wouldn’t something like that start showing up in “the books”, “on the radar” or even on the abacus sometime prior to the week before total destruction?  Back when I was at ForeFront Records, if I started overspending a marketing budget or worse, spent more in a month than my team fore casted, David Johnson was standing in my office door shaking his head and asking me what’s going on.  I feel certain that kinda stuff had to be going on at Lehman Brothers, AIG,  Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.  There obviously was a process of bad decisions to get us here.  My question is . . . where were the people with the warnings?  I imagine there were many people like DJ standing in people’s doorways saying what’s going on with your team, company, or corporation.  Why weren’t we hearing about it before a few months ago?

Right now it seems we’re looking at giving a 700 Billion dollar loan to companies lead by people who are completely untrustworthy with the loan being facilitated by people who are untrustworthy. 

I agree with most of America.   I wish people would set up a system that allowed me to privatize my assets and socialize my liabilities . . . I wouldn’t mind a government bailout!  However, the reality is it’s not just the lying CEOs with multi million dollar bonuses and their greedy minions that we are bailing out in this 700 Billion dollar mess.  It’s all so intricately connected that if the sky does fall on Wall Street, it’s gonna be raining on Main Street.  

The question now is how bad it gets and if bad really is bad for us over the long term.  Maybe it should get bad.   In free markets, failures are as important as successes.  Stocks are risky for a reason.   If you take a home mortgage that you can’t afford while holding your breath hoping no one notices this is ‘too good to be true’, you risk foreclosure.  Maybe we were living in a seriously overinflated market.  Were we gleefully skipping through the field of clover we knew was full of landmines? 

After these weeks of watching Washington try to interject themselves into this situation, I’ve come to the conclusion that real governing is too important for us to in trust such responsibility to politicians.  Congress is filled with people whose primary job is to get re-elected and help their fellow party members get re-elected.  Governing is secondary and really just a tool in the political game (i.e. eternal marketing campaign). 

So, I’m wondering as an alternative . . what if we selected Congress like we do juries and pick people at random and everyone is at risk of having to take a turn!  I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a group of people who were actually trying to get it done so they could just go home to their lives.  What about those firemen in the Nextel commercial?  Maybe they’d be willing to do to the job!   

I’d settle for political leadership who will actually try to LEAD even while making bad choices rather than the ones we have who sit back and wait for the polling data to come in.

If they are waiting for people like me to tell them what I want them to do, we’re in trouble!  I am trying to keep up and understand but the info I get is filtered by the people controlling the story.  What kind of insight do they expect us to give them?  I have trouble balancing my own checkbook and keeping up with my own retirement fund.  I voted for them to handle this stuff! 

You gotta love our congressional leaders who when faced with this dire situation have time to hold press conference after press conference.  Two days ago, McCain announces he’s going to run in to save the day or at least be present during the conversation (seemed like a good idea to me).  Just to show us there is no day that needs saving, yesterday the democrats told us there’s a deal before McCain can get there when all accounts say they weren’t even close to a deal and then they accuse McCain of playing politics by choosing to go back to Washington and play the role of Senator (the job he already has).  You gotta love politicians accusing each other of playing politics! 

Why do they keep bringing up tonight’s debate . . . to debate or not to debate.  Who cares?!  If the debate is Monday or a week from now, does it really matter?  They’re scheduled to talk about foreign policy for crying out loud!   The debates are just another marketing strategy, I didn’t hear anybody suggest there wouldn’t be debates between the candidates.   Even Bill Clinton said that McCain wasn’t insincere in suggesting to put off the debate because he initially was asking for MORE debates!   

At least, all these politicians apparently CAN multi-task . . . it seems they can do anything secondarily while continuing to play politics, so maybe governing might accidentally happen at some point. 

Isn’t all of this just adding insult to injury?! 

Speaking of insult, is anyone asking those for the money back from the CEOS with the multi-million dollar bonuses for doing a bad job?  I’d be happy to make the call if anyone has a cell phone number!  🙂

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