Friday, September 26, 2008

More On Finance

OK, so this whole financial crises has really gotten me a bit worked up. I suppose I'm just falling into the trap of the hype laid out by the media, just like I did with David Blaine, but this does seem pretty real. It also seems pretty frustrating. Last night there was a report on CBS news that highlighted some peoples frustration to our reaction to bail out these billion dollar businesses, but the common folk are still left dangle and dig out of this mess. Here is that report:

Watch CBS Videos Online

I don't know about you, but it does feel awful unfair to me. I suppose the unfairness factor isn't really helped by the complexity of the problem. We seem to have a problem of with a system that under girds the system that lies under the system that we actually see. So to this point the problem hasn't totally hit my pocketbook, but if this bailout doesn't come it appears I will feel it soon enough. How does it all work? I have no idea, but enough experts have spoken to convince me that something needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon.

It just makes me wonder why it is when a bank, or other financial company, makes a series of poor decisions and loses hundreds of millions of dollars they get bailed up and feel minimal effects. Yet if I were to make some poor decisions and end up losing thousands of dollars I have to keep paying for it for years to come. I don't know about you but it feels unfair to me that the rich get helped and the poor (or maybe I should say relatively poor) don't.

Which leads me to another pondering related to this. How is it that we chose to react? Watching our leadership I wonder if we even know how to react to crises in a reasonable manner. Let's take a look at John McCain over the past month. (I apologize now for those who are John McCain fans. I don't mean to pick on him alone, but he does offer a couple of recent examples that are easy to point towards. I do honestly think his reaction is an more the rule of leadership than the exception.)

First there was Hurricane Ike and the Republican Convention. Did you notice that the first day of the convention was essentially cancelled because of the hurricane? I wonder if that is really the appropriate call. What power does McCain actually have when showing up in that region to help? I understand President Bush calling off his appearance there because he does have the power to do something there. McCain was reported to be stuffing care packages for those effected. Did he need to travel there to do that? Could he have set a better example for the rest of us by showing up in St. Paul and showing us how we can help from a distance?

Then there is this whole financial crises. He has recently moved to a position that says we need to close up shop and focus on this issue and this issue alone. Yes, it is absolutely serious, but it sounds like an overreaction. Here is a clip from the Daily Show on McCain's reaction to resent events.

After this clip in an interview with Bob Schieffer Jon asked, "Have you ever scene this where a presidential candidate in the midst of a crises says, 'Wow, this is some crises. I better stop talking to everyone about what I would do.'"

Now in John McCain's defense of what I perceive to be his overreaction (and other leaders for that matter) it seems to me that nowadays if a leader doesn't overreact in this manner they are perceived by the public as not caring. How did we ever get to this point? What ever happened to level headed, reasonable responses from our leaders? Yes, we want caring, compassion, even outrage when appropriate, but in levels appropriate to the situation. Is the problem perhaps we have become so numb to reality because of our greed and isolation to reality through our wealth (be it real or through smoke & mirrors which has led us to this financial crises)?

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