Column: U.S. Needs To Focus On Long-term Solutions

This story was written by Max Avery, Oklahoma Daily
The U.S. recently gave $700 billion to the businesses that caused the current financial crisis.

These businesses were given money through what is becoming the largest and most corrupt public bailout in U.S. history.

While the bailout investment was being made, more than 10 percent of Americans live below the poverty line.

By bailing out these businesses, the government avoided the real and growing problem in America today.

Debt has been the path of choice for our government and this nation in recent history.

It delays the problem for future generations. It puts off the problem so future presidents and citizens will be paying our debt.

This has become our culture. We have more than $10 trillion of public debt as we enter this new economic crisis.

The fundamental problems are not being addressed. Instead, we focus on short-term gains despite obvious long-term losses.

Like a heroin addict, we avoid the causes of our problems and instead look for the quick fix.

There was no debate about the bailout. It was presented in yes or no terms.

Should the government bail these corporate giants out, or should it not?

An alternative to the bailout was never presented.

No assistance was suggested for the poor or the people who lost their life savings, their jobs, their homes or their retirements.

History has shown that money doesnt trickle down from the top, but it flows from the bottom up.

China recently has put forward an economic stimulus package of $586 billion to be given to the poor through public works programs.

China is giving those at the bottom those who are losing their jobs work while it gains infrastructure through their labors. This money is going to people who spend a majority of their money to survive.

Giving them money will put it right back into the economy. Everyone benefits, rich and poor.

Its like China took a page from former President Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal.

Why didnt we? Because it takes time to produce serious results.

Businesses and economies are bound by quarterly earnings. Experts are predicting doom for the financial markets because U.S. spending was down last quarter.

Unfortunately, theyre probably right.

Quarterly earnings and losses are the greatest determining factors in the value of a stock or an economy. But they overshadow the big picture.

Though it may produce higher quarterly earnings, the bailout doesnt promote a strong foundation. It only needs this quarter to be positive.

There is no reward for financial managers to plan long-term development.

This kind of financial planning stifles lasting success for the sake of short term gains.

Instead of focusing on short-term gains, businessman Andrew Carnegie focused on the long-term efficiency during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Despite the immediate (short-term) costs, he made steel as inexpensively as possible.

Because of large spending on research and technology, he didnt always show a large quarterly or yearly profit.

But he built a great steel empire and became one of the richest men in the world.

With todays quarterly analysis, his plan would be suicide for his stocks, and his steel empire would never have been.

We need more concern for the future, less for the quick fix. Economic Libertarians claim deregulating banks will solve the current housing crisis, a crisis caused in part by a lack of regulation.
Deregulation could increase immediate investment in banks and temporarily solve or lessen the stock problem now. But it would also lead to larger, more frequent crises.

There is hope that these dangerous quick fix ideologies will be relegated to the organizations no one takes seriously, like the Flat Earth Society or the Heartland Institute, but the quick fix is difficult to ignore.

When a CEO is evaluated on how the company is doing on a three-month track, or when a politician must run for re-election every two or four years, there is no time for long-term planning.

Sustainable, long-term growth takes time and patience.

We need to ask what has happened to our government if we wont consider large-scale public works projects when China will.

We need to look at what has become of our nation and our culture.

This is not just a theoretical idea that only applies to business and government; it applies to everything, from where we shop, to what we eat, to how we get around.

Many of our choices will give immediate benefits and long term losses. We need to slow down and consider them more thoughtfully and holistically.

We are the educated elite of our nation, of the world.

We can do better.

We need to slow down, to see more than the present.

We need to work for the future.
  • CBSNews

Comments