Sunday, October 12, 2008

Financial Meltdown & Trust

Bailout/Rescue Plan Doesn't Seem to be Helping

Is Meaningful Regulation Missing ?

Financial Return On Our Investment Necessary

Is this a bailout of those on Wall St. who created the financial crisis or is it a rescue plan for Main Street America? The answer depends upon personal perspective based on information we each gather, process and interpret to reach an ultimate conclusion independently. The fact there have been so many financial experts offering conflicting views as to what action is best has not clarified the issues. The pundits state the problem, potential solutions, and possible consequences have not been explained well. Even more critical in creating uncertainty among all of us is the experts general agreement the results of implementing this plan are unknown. What is proving to be the case so far is that the plan has not resulted in a desired positive effect on the financial markets in the U.S. and the world.

I've read news reports, and listened to more than a few knowledgeable financial authorities of differing ideological persuasions explain their point of view. I've engaged in thoughtful debate with friends of varying socio-economic status who have been equally anxious to consider all the angles as best we were capable. I am familiar with young people attempting to sustain a new successful several year old business, raise young children, and maintain their home's mortgage. My own family consists of members a next generation older than that couple who are also striving to prepare for their futures. I have personal knowledge of couples entered into their first medicare-elgibilty retirement years whose financial well-being is paramount now that they're no longer in the work force. Especially vulnerable are some other couple friends and singles already in their retirement years whose financial security is most eminent. Will some of the older people need to return to work and might they encounter that unlawful but still covertly practiced age discrimination?

My Representative, Republican David Dreier, coincidentally the night before the second bailout/rescue vote offered me an opportunity to participate in another of his periodic phone conferences. I have yet, however, to be selected to ask questions and speak directly with him. His votes have not often reflected my point of view, but I value hearing his perspective. I sometimes let his office aides know by phone, letter or email my own opinion that I expect him to seriously consider whether contrary to or supportive of his position.

During his exchange with constituents in this phone conference I informally judged 80% to 90% of those who spoke had the same reaction I did of outrage – outrage that we were being asked to underwrite the excesses of Wall Street, the failure of government to regulate the violators of sound business practices and provide carte blanche authority to one government official for dispersing 700 billion dollars. He said he agreed with our concerns, but was convinced there was too much at stake for each of us, our country and the world financial markets, so he "held his nose" and voted for the first bill. Before this conference call I had reached that same conclusion as he had stated when it came to a vote on that bill. My Democratic Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer also voted for the bill.

The other night Warren Buffett appeared on The Charlie Rose Show on PBS-TV making a similar case for a "yes" vote on this revised bill. I do respect Buffett, but I realize he has his own business perspective and agenda though it does seem to be one supportive of Main Street Americans. I did conclude, nevertheless, that everything considered I was not willing to gamble the financial condition of this country against the unknown of what might be our future if this revised bill did not pass. I left a message for Rep. Dreier that I hoped he would vote "yes" on this revised bill, too, as he did. Expectedly my Senators Feinstein and Boxer would again vote their support.

I continue to feel a crisis of trust toward current governing figures but now even far greater than any I've ever felt before in my lifetime toward any other administration. Congressional persons and those occupying the executive branch of our government from both of our major political parties have not only failed to serve the American people well as they pledged to do, but they have betrayed us for too many years.

Whose opinion on how to act do we trust to resolve the financial debacle our country is experiencing? Originally I thought U. S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was that person by default but then I was quite repelled by the original bailout plan he proposed. What a power grab to rival that of what the current executive branch has been doing these past years. The constant admonitions by officials urging fast action to endorse this plan had me questioning whether or not this tactic might just be rushing us to action saying time was of the essence in classic sales closing pressure tactics. I also knew that approach almost always raises a red flag of caution to not get stampeded into what might likely be a questionable investment. Common sense suggested to me that both the original plan and the revised bailout/rescue plan saddling 700 billion dollars of debt risk on to all citizens was tantamount to rape of the American people. Despite all that, right or wrong, I over-rode my hesitations and was willing to accept that revised bailout/rescue plan.

Friday night 10/10/08 I listened to George Soros interviewed extensively on Bill Moyers Journal PBS television program. Soros basically said this rescue plan was already too late to be effective, so I wonder what are we doing? We can't rescind this plan now, but I believe we need to keep up the pressure on our Representatives and Senators to see that items I mentioned in my previous post are adopted in new bills if need be to ensure their implementation. I'm especially concerned that regulations are strengthened, if need be, but definitely strongly enforced in the financial world, including banking. Also, the Securities Exchange Commission purportedly has long fought off regulation to their and our detriment it seems. Specific approval and accountability beyond "oversight" needs to be required for the distribution of my portion of the $700 billion tax dollars and I'm just not sure that will effectively be done.

I want those same 700 billion tax dollars and any new amounts appropriated rewarded with earnings repaid at an interest rate that any such high risk investment would generate. The principle, of course, must also be reimbursed to our U. S. Treasury. Perhaps we should even charge the financial market the same usury rates they've forced us to pay for many years which our state and federal government officials have permitted. All the financial groups who benefit from loans, cash infusions and/or purchases of their bad debts are monetarily, morally and ethically indebted to all U. S. citizens.

The very least the financial markets and banks can do is to dedicate themselves to making our investment in them profitable for all of us.


  1. Very well said!!!!! As usual, you are right -- you stated your case very well and I agree wholeheartedly, my friend.

    I am sorely disenchanted with our legislators to put it mildly.

  2. As usual, your post is well thought out and well written. Thank you for your insight. You have voiced my feelings far better than I could.

  3. You have explained this far better than I could...probably because you understand it far better than I do Joared. I listen to it all and read about it, and still I can't wrap my head around the intricacies of this whole mess. Thanks for some clarification....

  4. Thanks everyone, don't know that I understand this any better than any of you. I simply explain what I understand hoping that if I'm off base a reader will enlighten me. If it doesn't make sense, please let me know.

  5. Yes Joared I'll let you know about making sense. You make all the sense in the world!! Especially your last two paragraphs. Also like you I feel that this administration and congress have let us down but as you said betrayed our trust.

    And to think that the first $750 billion bailout bill was rejected only to pass one that may cost us $850 billion is almost laughable if it were not our money. And it's all borrowed money. Who will pay it back? I've heard people say our grandchildren. My thought is it will be all of us taxpayers living right now regardless of age and the future taxpayers of generations to come.

    As always your posts are well worth reading and commenting on. Keep writing.

  6. "Common sense suggested to me that both the original plan and the revised bailout/rescue plan saddling 700 billion dollars of debt risk on to all citizens was tantamount to rape of the American people."

    And so it seems, increasingly to be that we are being raped. Horrifying.
    Cop Car