We’ve just been treated to the political sideshow titled the “Debt Ceiling Crisis”.
The politicians—all 537 of them- must think we are stupid. Everything from Washington must be a crisis so they can emerge at the 11th hour as heroes for coming up with a solution—regardless of its merit.
The Debt Ceiling is not the problem. The problem is the debt and the fact that we borrow forty cents of every dollar we spend. That sounds to me like we need to reduce spending and reduce debt. We have all read about the many ridiculous programs that we support. Why doesn’t common sense prevail and our country’s leadership develop a better set of priorities so we can cut spending? For example, do we really need to know what kind of sun tan oil is best for sea otters? Why can’t the politicians be held to the same standards of accountability that we are as families/individuals with our budgets?
Our country’s bloated balance sheet with its dangerous reliance on debt is casting a dark shadow on the financial health of the private sector. When you give the private sector certainty and balance, and job creation explodes. History is consistent - certainty equals job growth, while uncertainty equals paralysis.
Let’s look at the banking industry as an example. I am not going to include the large regional/national/international banks as they can fend for themselves. Let us focus on the community banks. Job creation is driven by “small” businesses. Those small businesses are largely financed by community banks. Therefore one would think that Washington would develop policies that move community banks forward and, with that the small-business customers of those community banks grow and create jobs. To its credit, the Treasury did develop the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) to provide more capital to those community banks to lend to job creators. But… it is very undersubscribed. What was a $30 Billion commitment is turning out to be a $10 billion program. Why?—nonsensical rules and skepticism of governmental programs following the heavy handed approach used on the TARP program.
“Make sure to close the barn door after all the animals are out the door.” This seems to have been the mandate that regulators used to develop policies and regulations after the recent recession. However, it wasn’t lack of policies/regulations that caused the problems. It was lack of enforcement—especially oversight of FNMA and FLMC (aka “Freddie” and “Fannie”) that blew up the mortgage business and brought on the recession. Did the Dodd-Frank bill address this? No! Did it (or, will It, since many of the regulations coming from this bill have yet to be formulated) hamper community banks? Yes. Did community banks cause the problem? No!
As consumers, you no doubt have seen changes in rules at your local bank. Perhaps you’ve seen new fees or restrictions on your activity. Ninty-nine percent (99%) of these changes come as a reaction to Congressional direction.
What are they thinking? I, for one, would like more common sense and a lot less political melodrama.
How about you?