Today’s was apparently a fairly acceptable if not good bill as an answer to an unprecedented liquidity and credit predicament bred here on US’s Wall Street and spawning across the globe. Voting to pass it to rectify the vast ineptitudes of lax financial regulation and it’s aftermath of failed banks and credit squeezes all at once was apparently too daunting for many of those we elected to lead us in Washington. Leaders lead in tough times. Shamefully, and certainly regretably, our leaders didn’t lead effectively today, from the President on down.
It’s been said in these past weeks, investors hate uncertainty. I disagree! My paltry 30 years in the business of advising clients to match their monetary investments with their choices has told me that investors HATE lying! So when lying results in the markets’ uncertainty, prices gyrate and the press and media pounce like starved tigers thrown a week’s worth of red meat.
The special interest groups don’t have any idea what was in this bill, nor the checks and balances that had been added, so to have set and stoked a huge bonfire of steam, admonishing anyone who could fog a mirror to call or email their representatives or Congress people on Capital Hill and vote NO, was about as irresponsible as special interest groups often turn out to be.
Where were those same special interest groups last week? Just as in the dark as they were yesterday, yet yesterday they chose to pull the blast email trigger that was so itchy for oh, so many days; too many days, in fact, and let their voices be heard. Where were these people all along this elongated process, of borrowing maximum home equity loans, gaining credit with merely a signature—who needs a job? Where were these smart consumers who borrowed more money than their paychecks, often at interest-only just because the loan shark sold them it? Where have these people been as they, themselves often got caught up in impulse spending over the past years and now are facing the sobering truth that yes, indeed, these massive credit card balances do have to be repaid—not just the minimum monthly payment? Is it too harsh to draw the comparison that while 700 billion just has too BIG a sound to swallow, so does the average American’s credit card balance relative to their annual salary? Who’s dropped their common sense here? Oh…perhaps most all of us!
So, we indeed have action today. The proverbial “Bill and Betty in Boise” have had their voices listened to; principally their NO vote registered. Bill & Betty have effectively trumped our elected officials and our governments’ financial representatives, who despite not having crystal balls, do have a fiduciary duty to us taxpayers, and who would potentially stand trial for mis appropriations, if I correctly understood the checks-and-balances that were written into the final bill.
Perhaps my fictitious characters Bill & Betty believe this “relief” is for theother guy and not them. It’s not. The first time they try to get a credit card or mortgage or car loan, or expect that their employer can simply and continuosly fund payroll—yes their paycheck–out of their Money Market, they’ll realize that their lives and that of their family’s are also impacted. You see, while we may not have seen our neighbors—near and far, we are still all stitched at the hip with the financial systems being as intertwined as they are, unless, of course, you live on a remote farm, grow your own food, and till the field with horses that don’t require that darned expensive gas we’ve all been saddled with.
The so-called bailout bill (and I DO trust they’ll give it a relatable name next time) is necessary and perhaps the defeat was cast as early as they named it, a week ago. Bailout sounds like the average unaffected guy and gal has to do the heavy lifting for the high rolling gamblers who should have pushed back from the financial buffet tables before the second round of desserts. That’s a BIG part of the problem.
And, finally, I really believe that there was still a ton of confusion and indecisiveness around this final bill—yes that same confusion that apparently prompted John McCain to return to Washington to explain, particularly to his party—but IF some House Republican Representatives got so peeved when the cause of these dire circumstances was outlined by Pelosi this afternoon, that they changed their vote out of displaced anger, I would suggest that they:
1) grow up into the leader roles they’ve been elected to, and
2) re-direct that very anger to the failed policies and those politicians behind same over the past 8 years, just like many voters are poised to do in November.
After all, where DID that huge 2000 surplus evaporate to anyway? Ahhh. The truth again. Ouch, that hurts! And yes, the current financial situation of the United States and the world hurts too, hurts for strong willed and courageous elected officials to lead by putting a shovel in the ground of rebuilding, not run for cover screaming “Chicken Little, Chicken Little”.
The smart money is ALWAYS long term, so fear is not an effective emotion now. Neither is selling equities now at depressed levels. If you are not diversified with your Certificates of Deposit to qualify for FDIC insurance on all your fixed income deposits, then transfers of the amount in excess of the FDIC insurance to achieve that end are in order. Otherwise, keep your powder dry, and pray for more wisdom than has been served up in Washington today.