Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where is our country headed?

It is very depressing watching what is going on in our country, and around the world. I watched the Wabash vs. Depauw Monon Bell Game last Saturday with a 1960's graduate of Wabash who is a Ph.d working for a local bio tech company. We spoke about how the education system in this country is going downhill. He said his company is doing well, but that 30 to 40 percent of their researchers are from the Far East. He agreed that our country is not on the right track and we need to get back to science and engineering disciplines.

The NY Times today has a good comparison of the attitudes in China and America, and how they have become the "can-do" country while we have lost our energy, our quest for the future. They link to a Harvard Business School teacher article about what we need to do to get back ahead.

I see the dithering in Congress, the Democrats and Republicans just being two sides of the same coin, a bunch of rich guys being puppeted by much richer guys and corporations, taking care of the rich and themselves at our expense, and at the expense of our future. We need Universal Health care in this country yet that isn't even on the table unless some connected MBA's get a percentage off the top. I thought we had RICO laws against that?

I remember in 2006 when the City Council raised their salaries from the 60's to the 80's and Sam Yoon said that we needed to pay councilors more money to attract better candidates. Well this year we lost Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty with degrees from Harvard, Princeton, BC and BU for Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley with degrees from UMass/Boston, and Southern New Hampshire University for Felix, and Ayanna didn't complete her studies at BU. With all due respect to the colleges and elected officials involved (I coined the saying "there is a sucker from Harvard born every minute), on paper at least it would not seem as if we really increased the quality of our councilors by giving them huge raises.

I asked both Felix and Ayanna during the campaign about the BRA, and neither had anything to say about it. Those who don't know about the past are doomed to repeat it. I like the energy of both of them, and am hoping that they both use their considerable gifts to get up to speed fast before they become part of the machine.

Still, they are just tiny players I use as an example.

Why is it that every smart person I know has investments in foreign countries? From buying Australian dollars, to Argentinian vinyards, to Brazilian farms, it seems I am not the only one seeing the writing on the wall.

Yet, I am still seeing the money here in America. It seems as if others do as well, but now we seem to have a situation where people make their money here, but then invest it elsewhere.

I should have listened to Sean Ryan and bought gold at the beginning of the summer. You can't just keep printing money to get out of our economic crisis. It didn't work for the Weimar Republic, I doubt it is going to work here, especially because we aren't creating jobs, we are just getting the rich back to their standard of living.

Sorry, to be gloomy, I'm actually still very bullish on Boston, but I want to wake people up to what is going on and some options for doing something about it.

Have a great day, and think about getting a motorcycle!

1 comment:

Steve Wintermeier said...

Other thoughts from Asia -

A customer in HK once asked me "do you know what the difference is between a homeless person in America and a homeless person in China?" I just shook my head - not really sure where he was going and he related this story:

Man in a limo drives by a homeless guy in America - American homeless guy says "Damn rich guy should give me some of his money." Same thing happens in China - Homeless guy in China says "Damn it, how do I get to be the rich guy in the limo". Interesting to see the perspective of others on your and their country.

When I lived in Japan in the mid-1980's when their economy was booming I frequently heard (from them) about how fat and lazy we are. Their economy has barely budged in 20 years - we have our problems - be we're a lot better off today than we were in 1989 (the middle of the last housing led recession).

I was in Thailand speaking to another customer - Thailand was booming at the time similar to China now and I said wow - looks like the best times of Thailand are ahead of you. I worry that the best times of America are behind us. A year later the Thai baht crashed and the country has spent most of the past 12 years trying to get back on its feet.

Despite our current difficulties, America has gone through boom, bust, boom and now bust - but I'm confident that the American spirit will somehow persevere - it just does.