Monday, March 30, 2009

We need a good dose of reality

The power of positive thinking.That thought is heard everywhere in this economic crisis.I just heard it endlessly at our annual company meeting.I hear it from my accounts.You hear it on the news depending on the politics involved.I question the validity of it.

No one would dispute the results from having a positive attitude.Just ask any sports team.A golfer who walks thru their mental set-up of their shot has to imagine the shot with a positive result.However,where is the line when simply always thinking positive and ignoring reality gets crossed?

GM's CEO just got booted.As a salesman and then executive,he certainly had that.He pushed the truck and SUV segment endlessly.Understandable with the high profit margins and demand from consumers.Now he is derailed for not having the foresight to move towards the hybrid and alternative technology.Don't you think that would have been a tough sell?Telling your stakeholders that you need to move away from your most profitable segment?The problem appears to be intent.The automakers were doing fine making and selling autos that the consumers wanted.They don't value the intent of politicians to go green.The automakers apparently need the EPA on their boards to form policy.They must factor which way the winds are blowing in Washington even if it doesn't make good business sense from a profitability standpoint.

You hear the stockpickers constantly searching for their bottom so they can jump back in and invest.It's obviously in their best interest to get investors spending in any economy.The bankers must sell credit to make money.We are told over and over by Obama and his crew that credit is the lifeblood of the economy.That we must buy houses,cars,student loans.We must use our credit cards to keep the retailers afloat.If we aren't spending money we don't have,the economy will collapse.That is the specialty of politicians after all.

We hear the lessons of the Japanese "lost decade".Of the Great Depression.All of the past debacles to learn from.You can find a whole list of economists to back the Obama method of spending your way out.There is also the opposing viewpoint of lowering taxes to instigate Reagan supply side economics.For every point,there is an alternative viewpoint.For the average Joe,trying to figure out what to believe is a nightmare.

I think for a sustainable long-term growing economy,our focus must change.Fractional reserve banking,ponzi schemes,hedge funds,CDO's,derivatives,credit default swaps,etc.You hear about all of these scenarios.Always somebody trying to make a buck without an honest days work.When our focus remains on buying on credit,carrying unsustainable debt and all the aspects of unsound fiscal policy,success will be elusive.Certainly the American economy has shown to be amazingly resilient over the years and able to rebound from the boom-bust cycles.This point is the basis for the positive thinking for many.

Talk to your friends and neighbors and they'll tell you.It always comes back.The sun always comes up tomorrow.Is it wise to do this?Is your head in the sand if you think it will get better just because it always has?I live in Michigan with the worst economy in the nation.That is precisely what we were told at our meeting.Don't buy into the negative.Be positive.We can still make our budgeted growth projections despite the economy.

Where is that point?When do you take your medicine and adjust?Those in positions of authority believe it's a slippery slope to temper your outlook with reality.Isn't that exactly what brought down the mortgage industry?They had to believe that housing values would only keep rising to support their ponzi style scheme for derivatives.We are told that the biggest part of the Presidents job is being positive for the nation.I don't agree that leadership is handing out rose colored glasses to everyone.

This has always been a focal point of the Liberal agenda.That we can't do things without our Government there to coddle us and provide.We are too fragile to handle the truth.We would just go suck our thumb in the corner if faced with adversity.Maybe I'm in the minority on this.I want the truth.I don't want it sanitized.

We can still have a growing economy if we base it on sound principles.Living with-in your means.Saving money.Only using credit in limited circumstances.Stop being the worlds welfare agency.Many say as the worlds wealthiest country,we have the duty to provide for the rest of the world.We must decide if we want to be part of a global economy and buy into it 100%,or do we take care of America first since the rest of the world doesn't see things the same way we do.We would be better served to go one way or the other.

I think we need to take all of our medicine and recovery will be much faster than the prop up and deny scheme we operate under now.No company is too big to fail.We must remember to temper what we hear with the source and their intentions.Big Government can only survive with this scheme in place.If we become empowered and reduce our reliance on them,their power is negated and they know this all too well.

This is where I question the value of always thinking positive.If it leads to denial of what is really happening and subsequently a valid solution,where is the value?This can apply to virtually any area of our lives.If you don't have the money,credit isn't the best answer.Maybe you just adapt and learn to live without.There is no free lunch on all of these investment schemes.Payday always comes.Why not adopt smarter policies to eliminate the boom and bust cycles?The answer of course is the power brokers involved that would be out of the game without it.

What would the world look like without the greed factor?Everybody does their fair share and hard work is rewarded.No smoke and mirrors.Deal with reality when it happens.Sales is the worlds oldest profession.I hate it.Creating need where it doesn't exist.I suppose this reality of mankinds limitations is too much to hope for.It is a nice dream though.More to come...

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