Happy New Year my dear readers.
Around this time, most bloggers, pundits and assorted idiots are giving their New Year’s predictions.
Where will the stock market go? What will be the best investments for 2011? Who will be the latest discarded lover of that famous movie star?
We don’t have any idea.
In typical Weekly Recon fashion, our mind drifts to the big picture…Where have we been? What choices have we made?….and most importantly what does history tell us about others who have followed similar paths.
Folks, looking back on 2010 (and prior) we see a lot of anxiety, false hope and tons of……..Mistakes.
“Oh excuse us Mr. Perfect…I guess we not as good as you!” screeches the peanut gallery. “This Bechara is some kind of stuck up, self righteous fiend!”
Look, we all make mistakes, it’s part of our humanity. In fact life would be sort of boring without them. I mean, can you imagine being denied the irony and laughter that goes along with seeing another guy call his wife by another woman’s name for example?
No my friends, individual mistakes, trial and error and the two steps forward one step back progress typical of any endeavor are what make the world go around.
What is deadly; however, is when society engages in collective mistakes, embraces mass delusions and generally undermines its own interests. In such an environment even an individual who calls everything correct will have great difficulty.
Of course there is a cornucopia of examples to highlight this phenomenon. Among the most galling are:
The softening of America – Ever witness school being cancelled due to a few inches of snow? How about the attempt to prevent every child from sustaining any injury whatsoever? What happened to woodshop/metalshop in schools? In general we are acknowledging that any fun physical activity carries risks and therefore if we remove the fun we remove the risk as well. Everyone happy now?
Lack of respect for the law
We have discussed this concept on the past. When laws and regulations become so numerous and confusing and enforcement seems arbitrary, the wider population begins to lose faith in the system. This condition is usually found in banana republics where violations of the law are seen as “no big deal” and even serving time in jail does not carry too much of a stigma as people figure “he just didn’t know the right people.” Has anyone been watching the recent foreclosure problems in the real estate markets where apparent violations of law are still being “discussed?”
The execution of “Logic” by that wily character named “Hope”
This crime has yet to be investigated but the evidence is all over the place. Millions of people are sitting in front of their TVs clinging to mirages of recovery, jobs reports and “you can have it all” messages. Those making policy fully understand that our country’s financial position is precarious but they steadfastly refuse to take any real action to avoid disaster.
The snake eating its own tail
The Federal Reserve is now the largest holder of US debt eclipsing even the Chinese! …..But we are not printing money…right?
As we mentioned above, mass delusions are very dangerous things because even those not afflicted will have difficulty swimming against the tide.
This is all about the middle class. The middle class in our country has made many mistakes, some willful and others due to false information. We have believed things that could simply not be true. As a result, we find ourselves in a number of precarious economic, political and social predicaments.
Mistakes are funny things, some are big enough to be irreversible by themselves while others accumulate and cling to each other until they metastasize to the extent that they are deadly.
The key to freeing ourselves from the bonds of our mistakes is that magic moment that all the world’s hard luck cases wish for….
It’s the moment when we wake up and face our problems without fear but with determination. Sure we may be sad and remorseful regarding our past actions, but we are no longer deluding ourselves about our predicaments, no longer anxiously wishing for an unnamed savior and no longer afraid to accept reality for what it is.
The old values and logic suddenly become as comforting as mashed potatoes and gravy on a cold winter day.
Ah the old beliefs. Anything worth doing is risky, no one is above the law, to change things you have to take action and most importantly, there is no free lunch…ever.
The million dollar question is who will redeem us? Will we be strong enough to wake up and redeem ourselves? Or will we kick the can and burden future generations with our mistakes.
We close this week with a clip from one of the greatest movies of all time, Rocky II.
The name of the theme song is, of course…Redemption.
Until next week,
Michael Bechara, CPA
Granite Consulting Group Inc.