Yes, I am referring to Passover. A truly wonderful holiday, one which chronicles the Jewish people’s exodus from tyranny in Egypt. As part of our remembrance, we don’t eat “leavened bread” (stuff that rises). In short, no bread. Given the depths of the financial crisis, bread is in short supply among those of any religious persuasion these days. We’re all in the midst of our own personal exodus, trying to find our way from poverty back to a healthier, more sustainable prosperity.
The irony of Passover story and its linkage to today’s circumstances isn’t lost on me, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what I’d like to see “Pass over” in the ensuing weeks and months:
- Pithy sound-bites from the US Government about how the worst of the economic crisis is over;
- Erratic and conflicted thinking as it relates to the banking sector and every other sector in need of assistance;
- The thought that propping up sick banks will actually make bad assets turn into good ones, like magic;
- Immigration policies that keep those outside our borders who can best help our country remain at the forefront of research and innovation;
- Senior politicians in positions of power with real or perceived conflicts with those whom they influence;
- Adjustments to accounting rules that make bank earnings look rosy when underlying portfolio problems are still acute;
- A loss of focus on the importance of alternative energy even though oil prices are 65% off their highs;
- The sentiment that Americans who choose to save and/or de-lever are somehow un-American, because Americans are supposed to borrow and consume, right?;
- The White House trying to please everyone all of the time, instead of taking bold stances and pushing through difficult, but correct, legislation; and
- The power of lobbyists and special interests in times of crisis, when their influence should be marginalized for the greater good.
This is merely a start. But as I sit here breadless and thinking about our future, I hope, and have confidence, that the best is yet to come.