A purely opinionated blog:
There was ZERO sum job growth announced just before Labor Day Weekend. As some have been saying for years, “It’s the Economy….” Why do those in power seem deaf? The anticipated “speech” set for this week is being downplayed by the White House just as the media is hyping it as THE answer to our problems. But I’m wondering: is there really a workable plan developed at all? With the job challenge existing long before August, (remember the 2010 “summer of recovery” that never was), why wait until this Thursday, or last week, or last month? And why drag it out over campaign stops when what we really need are definite decisions, written down for analysis, to encourage those who directly affect our economy: employers and investors who need a sense of certainty. Employers are sitting on ~2 trillion dollars in part due to uncertainty and speculation of future tax and government regulations.
Here is what I want to see for what it is worth: less government regulation and no more “speeches” from anyone until they are concrete, specific, and provide encouragement to employers, hard working people and those seeking work. I want to hear a pro-business focus towards greatness. No more statements of diminished expectations regarding our wonderful American spirit. We are a country of brilliance, ingenuity, and creativity and I’m tired of the attitude projected from Washington of diminished expectations. I would rather hear an apology from Washington (both sides) for its own diminished and out of focus record. Rather than continued and failed attempts at transformation, we need renewal – a sense of positive, upbeat, pro-business backbone. We need leadership we trust from those we believe “get it.” I don’t want leaders who instigate class warfare of any kind, including union vs. non-union camps while at the same time declaring a need for unity and working together. I don’t want to learn that 535 million taxpayer dollars was loaned by our government to a CA solar plant which declared bankruptcy only a short while later. That translates to a terrible business decision. I don’t want to read that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now suing banks for poor mortgages – talk about ‘sins of the father.’ Will our taxpayer dollars pay for lawsuits regarding the very banks we were told were too big to fail, thus previous tax dollars were already poured into them? I don’t want to see Federal manpower and tax dollars aimed at a company like Gibson guitar over questionable paperwork for wood purchases based on a law from 1900, updated in 2008. There are larger issues such as incredibly inefficient/wasteful government systems to clean up. Maybe they should focus on the abysmal border situation for the safety of our future.
What I want to hear: That our leaders understand the positive economic effect of lowering business taxes, which generates business profits, causes more business within our own borders, allows free flowing capital and results in increased employment – voila – JOBS! I personally think this is more urgent than singularly focusing on our debt as this will also help our debt. More jobs bring in more revenue via taxes. And every politician should know by now, no matter what side of the aisle they sit, that people vote their pocketbooks. Is it ignorance, arrogance or some of both that interferes with this thinking?
What I want to know: I want assurance that businesses don’t have to worry about future health care expenses due to a monstrosity of a health care bill no one yet fully understands. I want confidence that leaders care more about small business owners and hard working people than ideological themes of the day. I want successful small business men and women as advisors in Washington, not just those with academic backgrounds or CEOs of extremely large corporations. Most of all, I’d like to see petty political back and forth cease and a REAL emphasis placed on caring for Americans. I’d like to see a HINT of genuine humility by anyone in Washington. I learned in civics that they are to be servants of the people…
Unfortunately we are not talking about a college thesis on an ideological economy or virtual government experimentation – we are talking about the largest economy in the world. So this is not a time for experiments. It isn’t just about us – where goes the United States, there goes the world (at least for now.) We far exceed others in humanitarian aid to impoverished countries. Our strength allows us to do great things (and yes, sometimes mistakes.) But some miss our greatness and focus on taking America down a notch. The character of our nation – made up of its citizens and leaders can’t be over emphasized. The decline of a nation is never just about the economy. With greatness comes great responsibility. As Shelby Steele wrote in the Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2011, “When greatness fades, when a nation contracts to a middling place in the world, then the world in fact no longer knocks at its door. ….America seems to be facing a pivotal moment: do we move ahead by advancing or by receding – by reaffirming the values that made us exceptional or by letting go of those values, so that a creeping mediocrity begins to spare us the burdens of greatness?”
Aside from character, it comes down to this: those in Washington (whom we elected) will continue to make poor choices in economic advisors, economic policies and government priorities, or they will change their focus and tactics. I don’t believe we are in an insurmountable economic state (see article link by Arthur Laffer dated August 2011: http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/laffer-obama-reaganomics-gop/2011/08/10/id/406893 .) What is helping and what is hurting? Piling on more debt, more regulations, more uncertainty such as the 2013 baffling health care requirements and more bail out band-aids is hurting. Peeling these off, layer by layer will, I believe, reveal solutions. Simplifying tax codes, reducing Federal spending, encouraging private philanthropy, providing certainty in regulation, political stability, clarity, and a true BELIEF in the ingenuity of our citizens will help. Governments don’t create jobs – the private sector creates jobs. The government should turn its attention to defending and protecting, reasonable and effective oversight, and humanitarian global causes. Oh, and they will need to address the largest behemoth of all: Medicare. More on that later.
For clients and others, I encourage you, once again: spend wisely, save well, appreciate your jobs, keep sufficient liquidity, don’t over complicate your life with consumer debt or complicated and convoluted investment strategies that lock your ability to free up cash, keep your assets well balanced for your goals and time-lines, make use of wise tax planning, be generous as you are inclined to be, and treasure your family and friends.
Life-Integrated Financial Planning methodologies were developed for one purpose: to help our clients live, plan and invest with as much peace of mind as is possible during booming and challenging times. We work with clients to encourage them to live smartly and well. Please contact us if you have any questions about your personal financial situation.
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