I tend to be a contrarian which often puts me at odds with mainstream thinking. How we deal with rescuing the economy is no exception. While I certainly don’t want to see anyone lose their job or be put on the street, I’m not sure spending $2 Trillion is the answer. What bothers me most is that a great majority of our nation’s leaders are saying, “we have no choice”. How I translate this is…

To maintain our current standard of living (which is excessive and what got us into this mess in the first place), we have to throw a ton of money at the economy so that the consumer will start spending again.

What does Moral Courage have to do with this? Well, no one wants to commit political suicide by telling the American consumer that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, in other words, we  bit off more than we could chew. It was a drive to excess, to grab whatever we could regardless of the cost, that got us into this mess. The current financial rescue package is trying to get us back to that point. How wise is that? To return us to a status quo that drove the economy into the ground.

It’s not that I’m against having nice things, even lots of nice things. But, I do have a problem when the system gets out of whack. As an example, I bought my first house when I was in my early thirties. A few years ago, my then teenage son had a friend whose parents bought her a house… IN HIGH SCHOOL! Now, I know that is the exception, but you get the point. Our drive to “have it all” is what put $200+ jeans on the market and is what caused people to invest in things that deep down inside they knew were very risky.

Perhaps we would be better off in the long run if we went back to a simpler time. When we had to save and work for the finer things in life. We are beginning to bemoan the fact that our standard of living is certainly going to decrease. However, we should be reminded that the vast majority of Americans are probably in the top 5% (10% for sure) of the world’s population when it comes to having not only things, but a place to live, food and a relatively crime and war free place to live.

Perhaps part of the answer to our problems is that we simply couldn’t afford the lifestyle we were living and that a return to it is not the best choice. I know our leaders are talking about preventing the economy from entering a depression, but as I sit here at Starbucks, there is still not an empty chair in the room and while people have cut back, most certainly aren’t starving.

Moral Courage is needed to slow down, just a tad, and ask ourselves why we “have no choice” but to spend $2 trillion. Not popular I know – but certainly needed.

All the best,
ll the time
JT