Monday, October 20, 2008

Ignorance is not bliss

We have been informed by many of much recently. We have heard facts and figures. We have learned of staggering debts. We have been advised that countries, not just individuals, or banks or massive companies, are going bankrupt. The numbers don't make sense, and the concepts swirl around us in a never ending blur. It is all more than we can comprehend. The worst part of this is that we don't believe that there is anyone at the rudder able to lead us through this storm.

I am not talking only of the current resident in the White House. Without a doubt, his seemingly daily entreaties to all of us to keep faith in a system that is exploding gives us no confidence, and leads us to question not just his wisdom but his sanity

The concern is compounded by the fact that we were informed by leaders in Congress, and by both our Presidential candidates that passage of the economic stimulus package was needed at once or the sky would fall. When Congress failed in its first attempt to secure enough votes to give a $700 billion injection into the ailing patient, we wrung our hands and worried that tomorrow would not come. When Congress then added $150 billion of pork to the package to make it palatable to some holdouts, and sufficient votes were garnered, we assumed the worst was behind us. However, it seemed like before the final vote was cast, we were being told that the money would not work its way into the system for weeks, and it would be much longer than that before the effects of the money were felt in our economy.

Within days we were then told of a second plan, that wasn't even originated in our country. Our problem was now everyone's problem, and the dominoes were strewn all over the globe. We were to become equity owners in many of our banks, with a good portion of a $250 billion dollar infusion being invested in a few select lenders. This news seemed only to reenforce the belief that our original bailout had to be bailed out.

If the best and the brightest seem to be taking shots in the dark, what is that telling us? We all want to be secure in our minds that there is a real answer out there and that there are real people out there who can find it and implement it. President Roosevelt once said that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. In today's world, what we fear is that the answers elude us, or worse, that there is no answer at all. Until the day comes when we believe in our hearts and our heads that a solution is on the horizon, and that our political and economic advisors are steering us in the right direction, I do not think that we will be able to break free from the concerns that grip us.

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