Much as I hate the overused corporate-speak phrase "think outside the box," there is a lot of value in being able to view yourself as others might see you so that you may correct your deficiencies. Sadly, the phrase has been beaten to death by fools and charlatans who are so invested in our failing system that they would "shoot the messenger" (to use another shopworn bit of corporate-speak) if anyone really did tell them the truth about themselves.
All of that is an introduction to an interesting op-ed piece that appeared on the website Digital Journal over the weekend from an Australian financial writer named Paul Wallis entitled, "Hey, Corporate American Idiots--You're Costing Us Money," which does a pretty fair job of spelling out what so few Americans are able to see about their own country. Wallis starts off by enumerating America's various mounting problems:
Fiscal- The Federal credit card has maxed out, and the income for the states has been chaotic for many years. The US revenue system is an antique based on 19th century legislation which has nothing in common with real revenue needs. The US is persisting with a policy of zero interest rates which has already failed dismally in Japan, and the results seem to be much the same.Or ever, I might add. Wallis then goes on to advise foreign investors that they should consider pulling their money out of America:
Business- The dichotomy between Main Street and Wall Street is now looking irreparable. Wall Street isn’t achieving anything of note which is valuable to the US economy as a whole. This is business by numbers gambling. The big dips in the market are leaving a trail of trashed, and largely unnoticed, investors. It's musical chairs with capital, and the losers are stacking up.
Social- An encyclopaedia couldn’t do justice to the social issues in the US, even as a simple list. Crime, poverty, violence and the collapse of the entire structure of the postwar boom will have to do as a sketch.
There’s no thinking and no fixes being offered, just some general tinkering with a machine that doesn’t work anymore. There’s no vision- No great ideals, no empathy, and above all no practical approaches with bipartisan support. Obama has proposed a minimal fix to a massive problem, and even that will have to stagger through the geriatric fruit fly intellects of Washington to get anywhere, probably not before the 2012 election.
For foreigners, the problems are magnified by their level of investment in the United States. Pulling out of an investment at a loss is never a welcome idea, but sticking around and just taking more losses is even less palatable.Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark. Wallis concludes his article with a flourish:
Foreign investment in the US used to be a very good idea. It’s now looking like a particularly efficient form of suicide, particularly in equities and capital investment. The business culture in the US is also an acquired taste. The vast array of useless, overpaid and underachieving networking middlemen is hardly a recommendation. The “thought leaders” are senescent jokes, looking more like they’re doing a crossword than any actual thinking about major issues.
Listen, you tenth-rate entomological scumbags- You’re costing us billions per day. You're living in a sewer and pretending to be celebrities. You want charity, find a mirror in a public toilet somewhere and play a kazoo. Don’t expect anyone to believe this garbage. Get the act together, now.Okay, here is where I have to draw the line. I'm so sorry--NOT!--that it has taken the likes of Mr. Wallis so long to wake up to the fact that America's financial system is bankrupt not only in terms of its balance sheet, but morally and ethically as well. That should have been readily apparent to anyone with two brain cells to rub together after the financial crash of 2008. If, after all that mess, you kept your money invested in America's hopelessly corrupted system and lost your ass, well then I have absolutely NO sympathy for you whatsoever. Go make yourself a Vegemite sandwich and get over it, already.
The real underlying problem, of course, is that the American economy was built on the idea that cheap oil would be available forever and ever. And now that the era of cheap oil is over, our economy is headed for a disastrous fall. So you see, Mr. Wallis, it doesn't matter whether American business "leaders" were to suddenly "get their act together" as you are so emphatically imploring them to do. Even if they somehow managed to do so in the manner you suggest, they would be just as screwed. And so are you, unless you wake up to the unpalatable reality that is standing right behind you, tapping you on the shoulder.