20 December 2007

Paying the Piper... a comment on the US Financial Sector Meltdown

For once I am going to stray outside - actually pretty far outside - our normal area of expertise and talk about the US economy. I have no expertise in this area but my personal frustration and that of my colleagues has reached the point of not being able to remain silent.

The current meltdown in the US Financial Sector has been driven by the usual and predictably explainable factors. However we cannot avoid the responsibility of understanding that the current US Administration's policies of mortgaging the future through a number of "must-have- instant-gratification" moves has failed. Funding a war with amounts of money that are simply untenable has beaten the US economy to a pulp. The Administration's policy of hoping (yes it was that - just a hope) that the domestic economy would be the engine to drive a need for less tax and no worries about the value of the dollar has clearly failed. So now those of us who are subject to the dictates of the US Administration are now going to pay ... and pay ... and pay.

But there is an even worse price. The very economic factors (namely a free market) lauded by the Bush Administration means that the more fiscally conservative and financially stable (read smarter and rich) nations of the world are now picking up the bargain basement opportunities right across the US economy.

For me personally the one that brought it home was the announcement by Singapore Inc's Tamasek Holdings taking a large share in Merril Lynch.

I am not advocating a return to restrictive practices of currency controls and restraints on trade - far from it. I am just stating that the US Administration and the Weany Congress have but a few months - not years - to figure out what to do about the War. Clearly common sense and Body bags are not enough to convince anyone that the War is morally and factually wrong and should be terminated. So now the economic argument might ring true.

The economic value of holding on to Iraq has been washed away. The right of that country to self determination - should be granted and let the Iraqis take that responsibility for themselves. If that includes their own civil war - then now is the time to let them do that. But let's just stop funding one man's stupidity and an Administration's Folly. Enough is Enough.

So now it must be a decision that is based on what is best of the worst situation rather than doing what was once a seemingly noble deed - however flawed.

Let's hope for all concerned that America's next Administration and the current Congress are able to grapple with the real issues rather than the "spin" of what makes no sense.

The American Economy is on Life Support. Having it being funded by China, Singapore, UAE as well as larger smart commercial organizations should be an embarrassment.

One final thought: Ignorance is no excuse.

No comments: