Thursday, April 3, 2008

JMO - The US economy

I love listening to Terry Gross and her radio show Fresh Air, and today's (4/3/08) with Michael Greenberger show is more than worth the time, to get an excellent basic education on the US economy and financial markets. I won't pass judgements on the issues about it, because I don't know very much about it - runs in the family, even my brother once a Treasureer, CFO and later CEO of a major company, couldn't make money on the markets, just our own work.

In this show, however, Terry Gross and Michael Greenberger does an outstanding job explaining things behind the headlines and why our national ecomony isn't built on what built this country, our national heritiage of being a producer economy, but on money, and especially making money for the sake of making money. And all of it unregulated. And how widespread and deep it is into our economy that the future is what the financial market made, one giant bet, or hedge, against itself.

The show makes you feel small as an individual with your savings and checking account and retirement fund, if you're lucky to have one. Small to the point of being insignificant in the whole financial market scheme and world, and a only a lot of us make us a pawn. The best I can do is listen and hope the whole system doesn't crash, but also hope we, taxpayers, are left holding the debt while the financial companies, and especially individuals, walk away with millions in profits or compensation packages.

I still haven't grasped the concept that the CEO of Bears-Stearns walked away with over $200 Million in a compensation package for driving a company into near bankruptcy. But then the retiring CEO of Exxon-Mobil walked away with a $400 Million compensation and benefits package. And the list goes on about these guy robbing the company for themselves and leaving us to bailout the failing company.

I hope Congress gets the message about the public outrage and need for real regulation, but more importantly somehow we, as a nation and people, need to wake up to the realization our ecomony isn't going the right direction. It's not about money, it's about being a producing nation and economy in the global market. And thanks to Teri and Michael, they help educate and inform us. At least I feel smarter.

I don't feel any better, nor warm and fuzzy, but at least I understand how complex and convulted it is, and answers, from anyone, especially the candidates, won't be, or shouldn't, simple campaign rhetoric.

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