Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Are we getting too big?

Sunday, 60 Minutes had an interview with Michael Lewis, author of a new book, Flash Boys, another of his efforts to criticize Wall Street and the people who - in his words, manipulate the Stock Market. Earlier this morning, he was on NBC's The Today program with another recitation of his "fears" that these "other" guys are raising the price of certain stocks, so that they might earn even greater profits than they now enjoy.  It was interesting to me, but I am aware that I only know of one other person who might have any knowledge of Lewis' predictions.  That gives me room to breathe.

Years ago, I had received a bonus at work and decided I would finally listen to a friend who worked for E. F. Hutton (remember them?) and decided to take a risk.  He divided the amount of money I had to invest and placed half of it with a well known conservative company.  The other half we invested with a company that had been my client in another business and I suggested I had "inside" information.  I was right.  In three months, my investment had nearly doubled and we took the other half and invested it in "my" favorite choice as well.  In another three months, we took all of the profits we had earned and put them into another company.  In less than a years, my investment had more than doubled

Then, we had a family crisis.  We needed the money for lawyer fees and our lives went from better to worse, far worse.  I never was in a position to invest in stocks again, but that experience helped me to understand some of the nuances of the financial industry.  So, it is my recommendation that we all pay more attention to what we see and hear in that area.   Otherwise, we could be hurt if Mr. Lewis' fears and predictions could come to pass.

Are we getting too big?  Take another incident in the news.  It has been a month since that Maylasian airliner disappeared over the Pacific.  There is a virtual armada of ships and planes scouring the area where the best estimates suggest the plane might have crashed.  Now, I don't fly much anymore but when I did, I was more than confident that we were safe because of all of the technology involved, even in the local flights in which I was involved.  Think of all the improvements that have been made in recent years, but now it seems, all for naught.  Hopefully, the site will be located, but if we discover that something was involved that we now know nothing about, what does that say about our future?

I think we have grown too big.  Try to take an unbiased view of the criticisms aimed at our President for his Affordable Care Act.  I understand, at the root of most of them, we will discover little more than pure political demagoguery.  Sorry about that, my Republican friends.  If the shoe were on the other foot, and it was a Republican President promoting such a plan, or another one similar in size to the ACA, the Democratic critics would be engaged in the same kinds of indignation.  Somehow, we are losing the value we used to place on the persons who occupy the White House.  Votes no longer seem to count, only the dollars that underwrite political activities.   We constantly hear demands that we put a limit on government spending, while the pleas for government assistance remain unabated.   My take on the whole problem is that those we have elected to office - from either side of the political spectrum are merely caricatures of what we really need.  Does anyone recall a person running for political office who dared to reveal his or her record on  personal integrity?

Can you possibly relate to the crisis within the General Motors family?  For years they seem to have avoided the law regarding product failures in their vehicles and worse, the government offices that are there to protect us, apparently did nothing to require GM to properly respond.  People were dying, but no one seemed to care, except for those whose loved ones were lost.

Yesterday, we learned that a certain TV "personality" at ABC was leaving to join NBC.  A reason was cited that his demand for an 7 million dollar raise, up from one million dollars per year, was denied. Does that mean that NBC is willing to pay that kind of money for an "associate" member of the Today program?  Does anyone know how much Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker make?  All the while the government is cutting back on food stamps for the truly needy among us.

This past winter season has been the worst in several decades causing the States that were hit the worst to pay twice and sometimes three times what they had budgeted for snow removal and road care. There are experts repeating  their pleas that "climate change" is a reality and yet we still argue and fight with one another, rather than seeking a common solution to the actual problems being caused.

We weep as we see the carnage involved in the land slide that buried dozens of homes and many of the residents of a pleasant little village in the State of Washington and yet, we also hear the voices of the experts who forecast such an inevitability.  We watch in amazement as the lawyers and politicians in New Jersey debate the causes for the recent backup on the George Washington bridge.

You know who will be paying for what once called malfeasance in office, don't you?

You and I and the millions of others in the land of the "free" and the home of the "brave".

The problem as I see it, "We, the people" have lost our voice as the call for real patriots has disappeared from our conversations.

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