Thursday, September 25, 2008

What If?

What if lenders were required to submit loan analysis forms showing a reasonable probability of repayment to a regulating or insuring agency before issuing mortgage loans? (or at least a computerized go/no-go program to minimize feedback delays)?

What if the government had been willing to invest even half of the proposed bailout amount into infrastructure improvements so that more people had jobs and the wherewithall to repay their loans (Does anyone remember Keynesian economics?)?

What if the government encouraged people to Buy American so that more of our capital and jobs stayed here and the dollar was worth more?

What if the government encouraged people to save money in the banking system by not taxing interest on savings accounts?

What if business management salaries were pegged to results in both directions so that they went down when the business did poorly as well as going up on increased profits?

What if U.S. imports carried higher duties that could be partially offset by purchases of our exports?

What if non-emergency government spending was required by law to be balanced by corresponding income?

What if banking and credit companies were legally barred from having fees and penalties that were not openly shown in the LARGE PRINT and proportional only to the amount of money specifically involved in the case of late amounts?

What if companies and banks could not disclose your personal information to others unless you specifically allowed them to (Opt IN, rather than Opt OUT)?

What if automobile companies could not promote "Flex-Fuel" or natural gas vehicles in any area where the alternate fuel was not readily available for purchase?

What if we all had to avoid complaining for at least one day per week (You would live longer.)?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thousand Pound Gorillas

Everybody treads very carefully when there is a thousand pound Gorilla in the room. Then there is the other old saying: When you owe the bank one thousand dollars, you lose sleep over it. When you owe the bank one million dollars, the banker loses sleep over it! Both of these sayings are pertinent to the current financial mess with the government bailing out one huge failing financial firm after another. The Feds are afraid of the large number of investors [Read "voters"] who will have their savings or investments wiped out if the huge financial firms are allowed to fail. Don't forget that we all will have to pay the bill in taxes and/or inflation for these bailouts. When Enron went under because of manipulation and unethical practices, the government didn't step in. I personally lost a bunch on that one because my stock in Portland General Electric had become Enron stock when "Big E" took over that utility. It hurt, but life went on, and investors in Enron learned a hard lesson. If huge financial firms are so greedy that they follow unsound business practices to make a quick profit, they deserve to fail, and the government shouldn't prop them up so that they can do more stupid things in the future. Financial firms like all of the rest of us have to learn that if the potential profits of an undertaking or investment sound too good to be true, they usually are. Too many people were willing to loan money to people and firms that could not realistically be expected to pay it back. Then they acted surprised when those people had to default on their loans. What ever happened to financial analysis?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September Should be Two Months Long

Here we are again in September, the busiest and most promising month of the year. This is the month when the hot weather of summer gives way to a period when you can comfortably catch up with all of those chores and home improvements that you would like to get done before winter. Unfortunately, it is also the month when students have to get back into the school groove. Politicians are panicking because there isn't much time before the general election. Baseball teams are in the home stretch while football teams are just beginning to play "real games that count". The month is full of birthdays of babies conceived on New Years Eve or in the depth of winter. This is the month that is the beginning of the academic year, and as such is full of promise like all beginnings. Plan-ahead types are starting to do their Christmas shopping, and many stores are enticing them with displays of Christmas decorations long before we have come to Halloween or Thanksgiving. Churches are having "Rally Days" to attract worshippers and Sunday Schoolers back after summer vacations. Business Management is relieved because they got through the short-handedness of summer vacations. People are looking forward to fall foliage, but not to preparations for the cold winter ahead. Final fall weekend trips are in the planning stages. Car dealers are trying to sell off the old models before the new ones fill their showrooms. And I'm trying to finish off my first mystery novel manuscript before starting the sequel...Viva September!