John Lefferts' Blog

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A short rant...

Okay, I have a short rant so bear with me here...

It seems like now more than ever, we American's talk from both sides of our mouths. We want nothing to change, but everything to get better. In a modern era where we are supposedly more evolved having learned from our mistakes of the past, we find ourselves more politically polarized and paralyzed than I can remember. Everyone is fighting for their own respective status quo and seems to have chosen to align with a special interest group that has all of a sudden become a victim in some way or another. It's certainly not the spirit that made America great and it worries me about the future. As we have regressed from a responsible can do-pull yourself up by the bootstraps mindset to a somewhat pervasive victim minded society, there is a need to find blame for everything bad that happens. And lacking any obvious perpetrator, the default is to blame big business and government. While the majority of Americans say they want less government in their lives out of one side of their mouths, they blame government and hold them accountable out of the other. Then when something goes awry, naturally, government in turn launches sub-committees, investigations and everything possible in a highly counter-productive effort to deflect any blame. But a more pervasive thing also happens. The more we look to government for all the answers, the more we invite them to meddle in even more things in our lives. My point?....Let's stop looking to government for solutions when they have none...cuz they'll be certain to make one up!

There are quite a few things to get bugged up over these days and the never ending drip of media coverage through TV, Twitter, and Blogs make it all the worse. It's the height of cultural degradation when I see headline news being taken over with news about the supposed newscasters themselves. Beck, Olbermann, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Maddow and others of their ilk would do us a favor if they kept their opinions to themselves and actually reported the news rather than making it up becoming the focus of the news itself. I suppose I should take them not as newscasters but entertainers. It's just that when I hear people recite the opinions of these brainwashers verbatim it bugs the @#&* out of me! The latest issue that has really gotten to me is this Gulf oil spill. It is quickly becoming one of the greatest disasters of our time and there is as much energy being wasted on blame and deflection of responsibility as there is in fixing the problem. You can't blame the government for the oil spill. But after initially distancing themselves, now that they're taking heat for that, they've gone to the other extreme of meddling in it all not with solutions but with blame. When questioned about what the Obama administration should do about BP's oil spill in the gulf, Boone Pickens was quoted as saying "I'd get my boot of their throats and out of their way. I'd tell them we'd assess blame after the problem was fixed. I'd tell them it's ok to take risks to get this cleaned up-now". I couldn't agree more.

What's this got to do with Financial Services? Well, I see the same problem with financial reform taking place. The government is falling all over themselves to get something passed so they can appear to have solved a problem caused by big bad Wall Street while all the time they have no idea what they're doing and the ramifications of unintended consequences. It was government as much as Wall Street who is responsible for the financial mess. If you saw parts of the senate hearings debating the reform, it became evident that it was more about scoring points with sound bites and blame rather than actually fixing anything. Like Pickens said above, I think the government should take their boots off their throats and let the minds that created the mess figure out how to fix it. Then we can assess blame when it's done.

If you've read this far, thanks for hearing (or reading) me out. I feel better now. I keep telling myself a quote I heard a few years back..."When times are good, they're never as good as you think and when they're bad, they're never as bad as they seem". We American's have taken our lumps lately but our spirit of overcoming obstacles and remaining optimistic has and will serve us well into the future. If we can just keep the government out of the things they know nothing about. Better yet, let's stop asking them!

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