September 22, 2008
The Doctor Is "In"
In the last week alone, I've been consulted by more than a dozen friends, family members, and neighbors, all asking me the same question: How does this country's current financial/credit crisis affect them, and what steps do they need to take to protect themselves? I feel a little like Lucy from the comic strip Peanuts: All I need is a little kiosk from where I can dispense advice, even if technically I don't consider myself qualified to do so.
First, let me say that I HATE the fact that the government had to swoop in to save the day, so to speak. Yes, it was the only solution. As many as 10,000,000 people could have lost their jobs if the financial sector would have been left to die a slow, ugly, and costly death. But we've taken one more step toward socialism when we run pleading to the government that the private sector cannot be counted on, nay even trusted, to manage its own affairs without their intervention.
The timing couldn't have been worse for conservatives, and couldn't have been better for liberals. Proof positive that "the masses" cannot be left to fend for themselves. Nope - we all need the government to regulate and oversee everything we do. Despite the fact that the Fed's own man, Alan Greenspan, was the architect of this disaster, the dynamics of greed by the big boys of Wall Street are the equivalent of taking a mile out of the proverbial inch they were given.
This all points back to the lack of ethics when it comes to corporate America. I hate to say this, because I consider myself to be a part of corporate America. The difference: I won't betray my conscience for the almighty dollar. You can't legislate morality, but that is seemingly what needs to be done in this scenario. If ethics guided CEO's decisions, do you think Exxon would continue making record profits every quarter? Do you think the CEO and co-Presidents of Goldman Sachs would have each made over $67,000,000 last year?
There is much blame to spread around. My heart is sick for all the mom & pop investors who have lost most, if not all, of their nest eggs brought about by bad bets on the market. I refuse to even look at my IRA balance these days...not knowing is far less painful than knowing. Ignorance is bliss.
Through this mess, remember Warren Buffett's investing strategy: Buy when everyone else is selling, and sell when everyone else is buying. There are reasons he just picked up Constellation Energy for half of its market value. Don't be tempted to bail out of the market to save what's left...by doing that, you just let someone else profit from your loss. Stay put...we'll come out of this eventually.
The Doctor is now "out". Make it a great day.
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