‘There’s No Money Left’

Spending money you do not have is a clearly defined road to fiscal ruin.

Politicians the world over, but especially in Washington, have little appreciation for this concept. A departing chief secretary in the U.K. Treasury, Liam Byrnes, addresses this topic with crystal clarity in a message left for his successor David Laws.

Bloomberg highlights Byrnes’ message in reporting, ‘There’s No Money Left’ U.K. Minister Learns from Predecessor,

Arriving for work at the U.K. Treasury last week, the incoming chief secretary, David Laws, found a note from his predecessor, Liam Byrne, offering advice on the job.

According to Laws, it read: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left.”

“Which was honest,” Laws, whose position is the No. 2 in the Treasury after the chancellor of the exchequer, told a press conference in London today. “But slightly less than I was expecting.”

The note underscores the task facing Britain’s coalition government as it seeks to reconcile demand for improved health and education services with promises to reduce the largest budget deficit since World War II.

It was also in the tradition of Reginald Maudling, Conservative chancellor of the exchequer from 1962 to 1964. Leaving his residence after election defeat, he was reported by James Callaghan, his successor, to have remarked, “Sorry, old cock, to leave it in this shape.”

I have to admit my initial reaction to reading this commentary was to chuckle? Why? I can only picture the look on the incoming chief secretary’s face upon reading this note. The fact that he shared the message is also very interesting. Talk about managing expectations.

After wiping the smirk off my face, though, the enormity of this message hit me. Do you really want to own the British pound? Do you really think the British economy is poised to rebound? Do you think the U.K. economy and that of the EU as well may serve as a drag on the global economy? Do you have any doubt that the Fall of the British Empire is complete?

If the crowd in Washington were honest,(a true oxymoron), might they see themselves in the mirror?

About Larry Doyle 522 Articles

Larry Doyle embarked on his Wall Street career in 1983 as a mortgage-backed securities trader for The First Boston Corporation. He was involved in the growth and development of the secondary mortgage market from its near infancy.

After close to 7 years at First Boston, Larry joined Bear Stearns in early 1990 as a mortgage trader. In 1993, Larry was named a Senior Managing Director at the firm. He left Bear to join Union Bank of Switzerland in late 1996 as Head of Mortgage Trading.

In 1998, after 15 years of trading and precipitated by Swiss Bank’s takeover of UBS, Larry moved from trading to sales as a senior salesperson at Bank of America. His move into sales led him to the role as National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan Chase in 2000. He was integrally involved in developing the department, hiring 40 salespeople, and generating $300 million in sales revenue. He left JP Morgan in 2006.

Throughout his career, Larry eagerly engaged clients and colleagues. He has mentored dozens of junior colleagues, recruited at a number of colleges and universities, and interviewed hundreds. He has also had extensive public speaking experience. Additionally, Larry served as Chair of the Mortgage Trading Committee for the Public Securities Association (PSA) in the mid-90s.

Larry graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from the College of the Holy Cross.

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