Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Too big to fail

We have seen this scenario played out on our stage with regularity over the past months. Heads of the Big 3 were called in and called out for their transgressions. Mr. Libby, as the leader of the Titanic we refer to as AIG, was chastised and cautioned. Those who were seemingly 'fail-proof' had failed us and we were in ill health. Mr. Wagoner was unceremoniously dumped at GM. Is it now President Obama's turn to be chastised? Is the world now about to debate whether the US is too big to fail?

Some foreign leaders have questioned the wisdom of continuing to follow the lead of our country. China, in what would seem would lead to self destruction, has spoken of the possibility of refusing to invest good after bad in pouring any further monies into our system. France and Germany have been openly critical of our suggestion that the world spend its way out of our collective distress. A road to hell, is not a ringing endorsement for the economic philosophy we support.

I have an image of Uncle Sam, now huddled in a corner, small and defensive as the attack dogs are unleashed. I know that President Obama will talk the talk and try to convince us, and the world at the G-20 conference, that we still the center of the universe.

Unlike days of past, what is good for GM is no longer good for the country. When the question of GM's continued existence is before us, our universe is in flux. The world will now be debating if what is good for the US is good for them. In some ways this will be a discussion on whether the US is just one massive GM or AIG. President Obama is not selling a car or an insurance policy but a belief in the continued viability of our country and our standing. For that, he has to be the best salesman of all.


Anonymous said...

The definition of salesmanship is the creation of gratitude in the customer's mind. One might ask how can we create gratitude with the world's financial markets in a mess. President Obama's only means of creating this gratitude is by speaking forthrightly about how this financial crisis can be fixed, and what we are doing to fix it, and acknowledging our responsibility. He is doing all of that. Irregardless of the public reprimands that some European governments are now voicing, I believe that there is still an underlying intuitive knowledge that the United States will take action to correct things. It is how the world would like to always see us. During the past administration, they have been enormously disappointed. We can only keep this reputation as the world's 'fixer' with transparency. That is what the President is bringing to the table.

Robert said...

let us hope that is enough to carry the day