Many of the old tried and true quips and truism that have been with us for decades or even centuries sure do still have applications that are relevant to today’s world of business , personal conduct and relations with foreign countries. It would do some of our leaders well to recall them as they consider the Bailout mess and all the other important issues we are dealing with that have been subsumed by the coverage of the Wall Street/Bailout mess. Here are a few that occur to me and maybe you will find them apt as well.
“A Stitch in time, saves nine”. Boy I bet there are lots of folks on Wall Street about now who wished they had applied that one several years ago. Same goes double for the Congressional cronies who ran Fannie and Freddie. I mean what exactly did the people in Congress expect when they mandated that people who couldn’t really qualify for a mortgage loan should get one anyway? A little planning ahead and some quick corrective action when a problem first emerges usually does save lots of grief later down the road. Efficient action, decisively and timely taken is always better then patches and redos at a later date. Plan ahead and think about if there are unintended consequences. If only our Congresses over the last 50 or so years had given that some thought. It was laws that caused the current problems, not the markets.
“Not worth a Continental”. That was the saying about the first currency issued by the Continental Congress as it became apparent that that body had little power to produce revenues and even less political will to impose the necessary steps to raise revenues to support the Revolutionary War. Many merchants and farmers were very reluctant to sell any provisions to the Army of G. Washington because they knew they would be paid in Continental coin, not coin of the Realm. And when they did get paid in Continentals no one else would accept them for payment of their debts. Thus the phrase. I sure hope we are not saying the same thing about the American dollar soon. We must watch inflation. We need a very strong dollar for our economy to flourish. We want everyone around the world to crave getting paid in American dollars. Importing foreign oil doesn’t help either. It erodes the value of the dollar; drill American, pay Americans to do it and keep the dollars for the oil at home for investment and new other jobs, especially in science and new innovative methods to extract power or create power.
“In for a penny, in for a pound”. Once you have reasonably and carefully thought through a particular issue and reached a reasoned course of action to follow be decisive. Don’t take half measures. The market hates indecision and always punishes it. Look at the market the last week as Congress has debated the Bailout issue; it has floundered and mostly dropped. The dollar has weakened and credit markets and treasures spreads are non existent. When you do something half-heartedly it shows and does not instill confidence in anyone. That applies in your personal life and in the business world. It is also an axiom that even applies in military theory. Once committed, allocate the resources to get the mission accomplished. More than one military commander has lost a battle because he decided to attack but was wary and only committed part of his command to the task rather than his full force. Dribs and drabs have little effect when you are trying to achieve big goals. I am ‘agin’ the bailout but if they are going to do it, do it. Don’t break it up into installments like some are proposing now. That will not build confidence but merely raise more doubts about the efficacy of the plan.
Don’t know about you but I think the Chevy Suburban was the best American made car/truck of the last 50 years. For its intended purpose it can’t be beat. It is rugged, large and I always found it very well constructed and reliable. It won’t ever win a beauty contest but then it wasn’t designed to enter beauty contests. I am sure you have your own favorite choice. Remember my criteria for this selection was — did the vehicle do what it was engineered to do.
It is time for you moms to start thinking about those Halloween costumes for the little guys.