Let’s launch our own recovery — now!
In early 2009, soon after President Obama took office, I wrote in our newsletter an article titled “A Year (or Two) Like No Other.” The premise was, of course, that the financial sector meltdown we experienced in 2008 was unlike anything most of us had experienced, and that there was no telling how well we would pull out of it, or how long it would take
My advice then was that businesses should take stock of their position — figure out where they stood, decide where they wanted to go, and develop plans to move in that direction. The reasoning behind my advice was simple: it’s more often better to be ahead of the curve than behind it, better to get to your destination before the competition does.
While I’m confident some businesses did develop plans to move forward, to anticipate the realities of “the new normal” in their industries, it is painfully evident that many have not.
It’s no secret why hundreds, even thousands, of businesses have stopped trying to plan for their futures. They’re losing confidence in the ability of our government — the members of the House and Senate and the president himself — to agree on solutions that will restore some semblance of prosperity to our nation. The near-stalemate of the increase of the national debt ceiling resulted in an unprecedented reduction in the government’s bond rating. Recent polls have shown that President Obama’s popularity is lower now than at any time since he was elected, but Congress is even less popular.
The finger-pointing that has gone on in Washington for the last two years has gone beyond the point of foolishness. It’s clear to all of us outside Washington that everyone inside the Beltway must share the blame.
Where does that leave us now?
Well, the president has put a new jobs program on the table, and it contains many elements that both Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. We hope that Congress now realizes that it must do something, without all the partisan bickering, to create jobs and move the economy forward.
And what if they don’t?
We’ve heard over and over from much of the private sector that we cannot count on government to bail us out when times get tough. If that’s so, then the private sector must resolve to act on its own. Business owners and bankers, talk to each other. Businesses with plans for growth, supported by banks that show confidence in them, can launch their own recovery. If you’ve got a plan, start now. Get out ahead of the curve, and reach your goal while the competition is still thinking about what to do.