Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guest Post #1: Where America Went Wrong.

The following is written by Mike at

Where America Went Wrong

All across the United States, families are gathering around the kitchen table worrying about the future.

Husbands and wives are wondering if they will have jobs next month; retirement savings are being erased with nearly every days trading on the stock exchange; and the American Dream, the anchor for millions here and around the world seems in peril of collapsing.

It would be easy at this point to say “I told you so”. For at least the last five years bloggers around the world have been trying to warn people that this was going to happen. Until very recently their warnings were met with disbelief, scorn, and outright mockery.

And now, at long last, the mainstream media has discovered that we have a problem, and have thrown their hands up, claiming that this problem just “came out of nowhere.”

But we know better, don’t we? The events that have taken place these in these last few months are nothing more than the logical effect of causes put in place decades ago.

There is no mystery here. Actions have consequence; that is a fundamental law of nature and history. When you deny that reality exists (or, as Ayn Rand put it; that “A is A”) you set yourself on the path of unavoidable ruin.

And yet, that is exactly what has happened in the United States. After decades of trying to force a reality that says that debt is wealth; that value comes from the number of visible possessions you have; and a reality that where truth no longer matters - we have, at long last, painted ourselves into a corner. At long last the bill has come due, and we find ourselves begging for compassion in a world where compassion has been banished.

Yes, it would be easy to say “I told you so”, but there’s no time for that now. We are in a crisis, and the crisis must be dealt with. When someone sets your house on fire, you put out the fire first; then you worry about assigning blame and prosecuting the arsonist.

So it is now for us, the people who saw this coming and made plans to weather the storm; it is now time for US to step up and save the world.

No, we will not save the world in order to validate the poor decisions made by so many people. Nor will we save it in order to give credence to the money vultures in New York and Washington DC.

No, we must now save the world because it is necessary if we wish to save ourselves.

In historical times, it was possible for a man to move his family into the wilderness where he could live in peace and freedom, untouched by events around the world. But that is no longer possible. Short of living in a bunker on canned food and bottled water, the freedom and happiness of a man is unavoidably tied to the freedom and happiness of his neighbor.

And so, out of the ashes and ruin brought down on us by the folly of greed, we must rebuild. Only this time, we should rebuild on rock, and not sand.

A nation is only as strong as the philosophy that guides its people. If the philosophy is honest, the nation will thrive. If the philosophy is built on lies, the country will not stand.

The current crisis is not a failure of America or capitalism; it is a failure of philosophy.

Personally, I blame the movie “Wall Street”, which taught a generation that greed was good. Sure, the crooks get caught in the end, but the real moral of that film was “as long as you don’t get caught, crime pays well.”

Look back on the horrors of the last 2 years, and you will see that nearly every one of them was the result of greed and lies.

Citizens signing on to loans they knew they couldn’t afford. Mortgage companies writing loans they knew would fail. Brokerage houses packaging these poison loans into “investments”, and then lying to their customers by calling them “low risk”.

Rating agencies, paid for by the very entities they were rating, giving triple-A ratings on nothing more than hope, fuzzy math, and a commission check.

Lawmakers in Washington who place party loyalty above their oath of office. Congresspersons who accept millions of dollars in donations from the very industries they are regulating.

Corporate heads whose yearly bonus could pay the salary of 10,000 people. Corporate boards who worry more about stock price than actual profit, and are therefore willing to turn a blind eye to lies, as long as the price of the stock goes up.

Reporters and commentators on business-oriented cable networks who, with one hand, take advertising dollars from the greatest offenders, and then, with the other hand, try to convince the viewer that everything is fine and that they are not being robbed blind.

Reporters and managers on news networks who deny the truth, cover up wrong-doing, and lead the people into slavery: all because the problem might make their favorite political party look bad. Networks that talk down solutions because they were offered by the political party they don’t support.

Day traders, who buy on margin and then spend all day trying to stir up rumors about otherwise healthy companies. Short sellers, who profit by picking the bones of dying companies; who will often pick the bones of live companies until nothing is left but ruin and thousands of broken and unemployed families.

Entertainment channels that run shows telling you how easy it is to make money buy buying and flipping houses. TV shows that try to convince you that your measure as a human being can be measured in dollars and possessions.

In the end, we are all to blame. Each and every one of us.

Each of us accepted responsibility the first time we voted for a presidential candidate based on their appearance and personality instead of their experience and knowledge.

We each accepted responsibility when we saw the gains in our investments and didn’t ask where the money was coming from.

We accepted responsibility when we helped to bankrupt local companies who couldn’t fight a price war against companies that use foreign slave labor.

We accepted responsibility when we allowed ourselves to be distracted by singing and dancing contests, celebrity gossip and the criminal activities of the rich and famous.

We accepted responsibility when we chose the making of money over right and wrong.

And now, as we are boiling in a stew that we paid for and cooked ourselves, now is the time to say enough.

Now is the time to remind our Congresspersons that they are not being paid to steal from us. It is time to remind them that they work for us, not the money-vultures who donate millions. It’s time to remind them that if they are unwilling or unable to complete the job they were hired for, we can fix that at the next election.

It is time for us to turn our back on the news channels who profit by lying to us and creating non-existent controversy. It is time to remind them that the first duty of the press is to truth. It’s time to remind them that you aren’t fair and balanced, just because you call yourself so.

It’s time for us to know the companies where our money is invested. To invest only in companies that exercise prudence and self-control. It is time to weed out the companies who trade on lies and creative accounting.

It’s time for us to remember that you only make money or lose money on a stock or house when you sell it, and that cash in the bank is worth more than all the paper profits you may have.

It’s time to save our industrial base while we still have time to save it.

It’s time for us to regain our long-term vision. To learn to see further ahead than the next week. To understand that sometimes the work is hard and the results may be years away.

And finally, it’s time for each of us to experience a personal revelation; to finally recognize that possessions are not the measure of a man; that the house you live in and the car you drive are nothing more than the tools by which to live your real life; that the true measure of a man is what is in his head, not in his wallet.

Article written by Mike Lombardini


Anonymous said...

This is a very uplifting article. Truth times ten.
We must go back to celebrating the individual, not his possessions. We must carefully inspect every politician. Our very future is truely at stake!

Chris said...

I can't speak for everyone but I have personally changed my life. No more debt, no more restauraunts. 100% focused on paying off my debt.

I have really been listening to Dave Ramsey and I am undergoing a total money makeover, and also personal growth realizing that all of us have to stop living above our means, and having the disipline to do it.

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