Sunday, October 9, 2011

Americans Need To Get Their Dreams Back

Those words were spoken by Rahm Emmanuel on NBC’s Meet the Press today.

He was being asked what President Obama should do to get re-elected and how the financial markets should show responsibility and take a role in this needed recovery. During this interview he also commented on the Occupy Wall Street protestors and indicated that their voices needed to be heard and they are speaking from the real America -- those people in Chicago and Peoria who need to get their lives back. The financial markets, he said, caused this crisis and subsequent meltdown with reckless financial decisions and the American taxpayers stepped up and bailed them out. Now Wall Street and the big banks need to bail out Main Street. Emmanuel, it must be remembered, was an investor and a hedge fund manager who made millions, but he has apparently not lost his understanding of where the average person sits and how President Obama believes in assisting the middle class in creating jobs and the difficulty in achieving this goal without the help of business and Congress.

Instead as we have all seen, the big banks refuse to use the money allocated by Congress to help out those who are under water or nearing foreclosure, citing too much red tape and too little time to correct the mortgage mess. By making mortgages almost impossible to get now for the middle class, they are deepening the homeowner crisis. Many homes cannot be sold, people can no longer move to look for employment and neighborhoods become unkempt with deserted or foreclosed homes. A suggestion was made to allow people to stay in their homes and pay rent. Not to address old debts, but keep current with a modest payment and await better days in the market -- refinance and credit these rents. Does this meet all financial rules? No. However it does allow for some stability and time for the market to improve and home values to increase somewhat. It does allow for some dignity and hope for homeowners and neighborhoods. It allows for some cities to return to a more stable tax base with increased revenues. It does allow for some Americans to again dream again of the little house with the picket fence.

There is increasing likelihood that the banks will try to wait out the Presidential election next year. There appears to be a concerted effort on Wall Street, along with the Republicans in Congress, and the biggest Corporations to stall, keep the economy in the doldrums, and try to defeat Obama. They are not bashful about saying so. Reporter Lynn Neary aired an interview on NPR last week in which she spoke with a venture capitalist named Bill Frezza who is based in Boston and who is a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which "advocates for limited government and free markets." He has indicated that jobs are a necessary evil in the quest to make money. He is quoted as saying that: (paraphrased here) "nobody ... wants to increase their payroll because it is good for the American economy ... they want to have the highest quality at the lowest cost and jobs, rent and raw materials are input. Products and services are output." Read a transcript here.

This interview is chilling in his stark disinterest in improving the nation's economy. Businesses are sitting on billions in cash and not spending it. When asked about President Obama's statement that workers cannot wait 14 months until the next election to find a job, he indicated that business can and would wait. He wanted to move toward less regulation and saw no need to hire. As he indicated, businesses are run for the benefit of their shareholders and owners, not the country. Job creation is a consequence, not a goal. He felt that businesses do not have a responsibility to produce jobs. He indicated that Republicans are worried about the job creators (translate -- business owners) not job creation (that means workers). He indicates that the Democrats are using small businesses as whipping boys and raising their taxes needlessly. Want to read more in his own words? This is his blog.

So stop and think. Is this man on the same planet as we are? Do we really live in a nation where one group or class of people can care so little about the rest of us? Have we really so many people who have no moral sense of duty or responsibility? Do we owe it to ourselves to make it as difficult for these people to prosper as we can? Think of what Elizabeth Warren said recently -- do we as taxpayers pay for the roads that businesses move their goods on, pay for the police to keep their offices safe and schools to educate their workers? Do we not have a moral contract where each helps the other succeed?

That is the way it has been and should be -- we are no longer a nation of robber barons. Let's find good employers to stand behind and good companies to support, so that people who think as this man does will no longer be successful. Can you offer any nominations for good companies out there to share?

Do share your thoughts on this. Send suggestions for future blog topics. If you have a good idea, it might get shared here.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sharon,

    >>> As he indicated, businesses are run for the benefit of their shareholders and owners ...

    I have always thought big business people thought this way. I don't think a CEO has a lot of choice in the matter if he/she wants to keep his/her job.

    However, Obama+Congress have certainly been business friendly, so I don't see what his gripe would be.

    I think the real reason businesses aren't investing in the U.S. and are not eager to support a stimulus policy is because there's less potential for growth here.

    At this time, investing in Brazil, China or Turkey makes a lot more sense for them.

    The problem is that there are no checks and balances against business power in the U.S., and it's only getting worse.

    As for Rham E., I'd be more interested in what he says about the protesters off the record.


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