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Lincoln Institute


Creating Uncertainty: Recipe for Economic Disaster

by Frank Ryan
 

As Congress and the President debated the increase in the debt ceiling limit to over $16 Trillion, millions of Americans have been held hostage by threats to entitlement programs and threats to Social Security.

Equally as terrorizing, entire industries have been paralyzed by the lack of direction and decision from the government relative to regulations from newly enacted laws.

The sheer cruelty of holding a person financially and emotionally hostage is unconscionable. As immoral as it is, the unintended consequence of this fool hardy approach to governing is to set the stage for economic disaster.
When fear is combined with the regulatory uncertainty, the stage is set not just for a double dip recession but, worse yet, a depression.

"The only thing you have to fear is fear itself" This quote by Franklin Roosevelt appropriately describes the horrible consequences of using fear as a tactic to win. How cruel can someone be? It is easy when sitting in the warmth of your home to forget the travails of those around us. I would fire one of my subordinate commanders in the Marine Corps for deliberately creating fear.
Leadership is putting the country ahead of oneself. Leadership is about self-sacrifice, not personal gain.

The President warned Social Security recipients recently that failure to adopt a debt ceiling increase will potentially jeopardize their checks. Such fear mongering is not what leaders do. They are supposed to lead. The fire side chats of Franklin Roosevelt or the space exploration initiative under President Kennedy, or the national highway system under President Eisenhower were meant to instill confidence, pride, and hope.

Fear is not hope! Getting the debt ceiling increased is not the objective. The objective is to foster an atmosphere of hope, one of confidence, and one in which our citizens are comfortable to take risks by spending. Fear stops spending dead in its tracks.

In my years in the Marine Corps in foreign lands and having seen economic problems in Poland, Bosnia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania in the 1990's, I can assure you the President Reagan understood that to bring down the Soviet empire was an economic and political conflict in order to avoid a military one.
President Reagan understood that the centralized planning system of the Iron Curtain was doomed to failure just as centralized planning and rule making from Washington DC is doomed to failure. The uncertainty created by all the unwritten regulations required in health care and the financial services industry is an enemy's dream come true. Imagine if President Reagan had people inside the Soviet Union willing to do our bidding for us and help cause a disaster.

Vice President Biden apparently has dismissed the tea party and like minded people as terrorists.

What the President and Joe Biden fail to understand is that if you create fear most people will be paralyzed. Consumer spending will slow even more, people will retrench and get defensive in their spending and the economy will spiral out of control.

The reckless spending of the current and prior administrations is a disgrace and has put Americans in the grips of a relentless system that traps all of us in a quagmire so deep that many feel hopeless.

"I regard reduction in Federal spending as one of the most important issues in this campaign. In my opinion it is the most direct and effective contribution that Government can make to business." By the way, I did not say this. It is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 addressing a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Those words spoken then are just as true today.

To get our economy moving it is essential that we create hope. Hope can best be restored by leading a nation for what is in the best interest of the people and not the best interests of your party.

To call the tea party terrorists for standing firm on their principles is as reckless as someone in a drunken stupor condemning a recovering alcoholic for being a quitter.

To get our country moving, we must stand firm. We must lead. We must conquer fear.

Frank Ryan, CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He is on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com


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