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Un-Domesticating the Economy

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"My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening"
-Robert Frost

We're at a point in the history of this nation where we must dare. Yes, we must dare to go down paths we haven't traveled before and dare to make choices that involve pain. Robert Frost understood that one difference between man and beast is our sense of adventure and ability to take risks. The monarch butterfly makes the same magnificent migration each year, and they don't break ranks and do their own thing. Of course, following a regiment and having a high risk tolerance means not making massive mistakes. On Saturday, I was chilling in my backyard listening to some old school R&B and knocking back a Romeo & Juliet with a nice cognac. My yorkies approached with intrigue, but backed away quickly from both cigar and drink.

They will avoid the extra strain on their liver and lungs.

The point is that our economy has been harnessed and corralled through a policy that has displayed zero belief in the abilities of the nation to propel itself back to the right track. The non-stop finger pointing and demonization, coupled with non-stop schemes and spending programs, has actually played a major role in businesses and banks moving further to the sidelines. But, these guys don't get it. I watched Bill Clinton on two talk shows yesterday gripe about the amount of money banks and businesses were holding, but said it would be a bad idea to reverse rules demanding banks hold more capital. He talked about job openings outpacing job hires, implying something sinister, but not acknowledging many jobs available can't compete with extended unemployment benefits.

Green jobs aren't going to propel America out of the throes of this economic situation, and will not change shocking poverty stats unless the government mandates a special wage must be paid to those workers. This would only hasten the move of the industry overseas. I would like to see more manufacturing jobs, too. Here's the dirty little secret about all those jobs that left America...they don't pay enough to maintain a basic household. Sure, they did in many instances pay solid wages, but it was artificial, and actually resulted in less competitive products and lower profits. Listening to Bill Clinton urge the White House to keep up the fight on profits and big spending programs I wondered if he's trying to help or hurt the Administration.

For sure, it is trying to see them hurt the free market and ability of businesses to make decisions based on their own risk tolerance and needs. The renewed saber rattling towards businesses and banks will trigger more acquisitions, share buy backs, and special dividend payments. Very few businesses are going to be bullied into making hires they don't need. In the meantime, the key is demand, and it's not going to change with the aura of fear emanating from our biggest leaders. It's just not the right play. Such a myopic focus on punishing the rich to appease the poor gets it all wrong. We need to applaud the rich and hope their ranks swell. You can call it trickledown economics but it's more like the coattail effect.

The middle class has gotten the shaft, but I see them as victims of sawing the ladder of success in half, which means the mean or middle is lower than it used to be. We aren't going to have a nation of big and prosperous middle class people without a mobile upper class. We need risk-takers, we need visionaries, and we need confidence that success isn't going to be greeted with the butt of a rifle. Mostly, we need to take the harness off and stop trying to domesticate the economy.


Disclosure: none