Monday, October 6, 2008

Where is the Leadership?

I just came across an article in Bloomberg mentioning that President Bush spoke publicly twice today, saying that it will take awhile to restore confidence in the markets.

Just this morning I was telling Bobby that I thought Bush really should address the public, but not just to say that this would take awhile.  

The government can't just take care of this crisis alone, it will require a great many people and companies reinvesting and working hard.  Yes, the government working on a macro scale to work the credit markets back open will be a huge help, but the economy is not just an emotionless machine that will chug right back into motion.  It is made up of millions of people and all of their thoughts and emotions that affect millions of decisions every day.

In times of crisis, people look to their leaders.  Whether you like or dislike Bush doesn't matter, he is still the president, and what he says can affect people.  If instead of saying "Don't worry, we'll take care of it, just give us some time," what if Bush had come out with a call to action?  Tell the American people what we can take to help put us on the path to economic recovery, and end the downward spiral the panic has created.  If it were one of the candidates rather than Bush, wouldn't a show of actual leadership be more impressive than the politicing we've seen lately?

The American people, when faced with a common goal and directed by a strong leader, can work together pretty well.  Stop the divisive name-calling and blame-laying, figure out what steps can be taken by whom to combat this problem, and tell those people what they need to do.

1 comment:

Keith said...

I think the primary problem is that both he and his advisors don't know what will fix it. Well, for that matter I don't think any of us do. This really is a unique problem that the world hasn't found itself in before. So, he's trying to avert panic and is stalling for time hoping that the solution will come to light or the problem will fix itself.

I think the main problem is they are trying a top-down approach to fixing this problem, just like they did with the tax breaks - give it to the people at the top and it will trickle down to the people at the bottom. In my opinion, this has very little chance of working.

They need to address the primary cause of the problem, not just the symptom. They need to find a way to stop the job erosion, stop the defaults and stop the falling house prices. Without at lesat two of those things, things will continue to get worse no matter how much money they pump in from the top. They have to stabilize the mortgage market, and just buying bad mortgages won't really stop that, because more and more people are defaulting. I think they should re-negotiate the terms of the mortgages - that would do more to stabilize the market than anything else.