Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Should Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

The old adage is Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth. In my mother's view, it meant that if someone gives you a present, you should accept it graciously, even if it is something that is not exactly what you want. My view is that the economy fell apart because greedy people failed to examine that steed. Too many people jumped at the chance to get homes, cars, and other luxuries they couldn't afford with loans and cheap credit they knew they couldn't repay (at least not in this lifetime, based on minimum payments). I'm old-fashioned enough to be suspicious whenever someone offers me something that sounds to good to be true. Read that fine print and you'll find that it almost always is. The size of our economy is a function of how much credit is being used. The quality of our economy is a function of how much we save, how much we keep spending within our means, and how frequently we buy products that are manufactured here rather than abroad. Don't always look to cheat the system, or you may find that there won't be a viable system at all in the future.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Would Anyone Want to Be President?

Anyone wanting to be President of the United States defies logic. First, the job pays a lot less than it costs to get elected. Second, you have to endure large groups of people doing everything they can to destroy your reputation and ability to achieve your goals (Whether your name is George W. Bush or Barack Obama, your position on the issues will anger a large portion of the electorate.). Third, you are speaking fervently to people who don't want to hear what you have to say and who are speaking more loudly than you are. Fourth, you are trying to address the needs of the country as you see them, and many people are only saying, "Don't make any changes that intrude on my comfort zone."

President Lyndon Johnson wanted to keep track of poll results on how people thought he was doing. If you worry about what others think of you all the time, you will never get anything done, and you will have trouble sticking to your principles. This applies even to those of us who will not ever try to be elected for anything. If you are comfortable with the decision you make, stick with it, at least until someone comes up with a logical modification of that decision that makes even more sense to you. Our outlook has been influenced too much by the media. Ratings really don't matter. If you follow your principles and feel comfortable with your decision, then go ahead with it. As Commander David Farragut once said, "Full speed ahead! Damn the torpedoes!"