Monday, October 13, 2008

The Age of Turbulence

After much thought, I've finally decided to jump onto the blogspot and give it a try (this is Cullen for those of you who are wondering). I'm not sure who all reads our blog or if you will find what I have to say interesting. However, I have decided to use this blog as an outlet to some of my daily thoughts. So here goes nothing.......

As many of you know, I have never been much of a reader. In fact, at Alan's birthday dinner the other night, I realized the last fiction novel I had read from front to cover was A Wrinkle In Time. If you're unfamiliar, that was given to my 6th grade TAG class. Don't get me wrong though. I have recently read a few non-fictional books amongst several periodicals. For some reason, novels don't grab my attention. A book that has recently gripped my mind though, albeit a non-fictional one, is Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence. (Yes, I am secretly an ecnomics/gov't nerd). As I was reading the introduction the other day, a passage was etched in my mind and I have not been able to shake it since. This passage is referring to immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 and the debate of what the government's response should be to fend off a sustained economic recession.

"But beyond that, I paid less attention to most of these debates, because I was intent on getting the larger picture - which still wasn't clear to me. I was convinced that the answer would not lie in big, hasty, expensive gestures. It's typical that in times of great national urgency, every congressman feels he has to put out a bill; presidents feel the pressure to act too. Under those conditions you can get shortsighted, ineffective, often counterproductive policies, like the gasoline rationing that President Nixon imposed during the first OPEC oil shock in 1973. (That policy caused gas lines in some parts of the country that fall.) But with fourteen years under my belt as Fed Chairman, I'd seen the economy pull through a lot of crises - including the largest one day crash in the history of the stock market, which happened five weeks after I took the job. We'd survived the real-estate boom and bust of the 1980's, the savings and loan crisis, and the Asian financial upheavals, not to mention the recession of 1990. We'd enjoyed the longest stock market boom in history and then weathered the ensuing dot-com crash. I was gradually coming to believe that the U.S. economy 's greatest strength was its resiliency - its ability to absorb disruptions and recover, often in ways and at a pace you'd never be able to predict, much less dictate."

I could not help to think about what Alan Greenspan was saying and how it relates to our current financial catastrophe. As gloomy as the past several weeks have been, the last sentence is a ray of hope. It reminded me that we live in the greatest nation on earth and no matter what scenario is thrown our way, we as a nation will find a way to solve the crisis. You often hear business owners or top corporate officers tell their employees the companies biggest asset is them, the employees. Without the employee, the company and the day to day operations cannot function properly. The same is true for our nation, who's citizens make this country and economy work. There is no doubt in my mind that our countries greatest asset is us, the people. Know that our capitalist society is the best, most efficient economic structure in the world and we as a nation will find a way through this. Just pray that those in a position to make a difference make the right decisions and do not overstep their boundaries and infringe on our individual rights.

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