Where Have All the Statesmen Gone? - From the Chairman
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SECTION: From the Chairman

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Where Have All the Statesmen Gone?

By Paul Campbell

Article Date: 11-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

The bitter task of cleaning up the credit mess - and the unsavory motives of Congress that got out the mop.

“A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation.” – James Clarke
At the time of this writing, Congress just passed and the president quickly signed the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law – only doing so after the Senate added over $1.5 billion in legislation items to secure the votes of those holding out. Looking at the votes in the House of Representatives on the first package, which was defeated, votes were split not by party lines, but by those facing tough re-election battles this November and those who are not. In other words, many of our elected representatives do not think to do what is best for our nation; rather, what is best for their re-election prospects.
In times of crisis, our nation has always had statesmen who were willing to stand up and do what was right regardless of the political consequences. It’s difficult to imagine any such occurrence in Washington today. Our nation is facing challenges unique to our time in history. The new administration will face a U.S. national debt that is out of control and growing almost exponentially. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Entitlement programs consume the vast majority of our national budget and will only grow larger. We face foreign policy challenges across the globe unlike any seen heretofore. We have no energy policy to address the needs of not only the present generation but the needs of those to come. Environmental issues have become so politicized as to render any objective analysis of what is actually happening virtually impossible to find. This country is in desperate need of men and women who are willing to do what is right for our country, not just their political careers. We need statesmen.Personal Responsibility
In the fray of accusations across the media and in Washington as to who is at fault for the credit crisis, everyone is eager to point fingers and blame someone else for their problems. The reality is, people must take responsibility for their own actions and should live with the consequences. The people who bought houses they couldn’t afford are at fault. The mortgage lenders who packaged and sold predatory loans are at fault. The banks who granted easy credit without ever checking to see if those to whom they were lending could actually pay the mortgage are at fault. The Wall Street investment banks who so meticulously sliced and diced mortgage securities while drinking their own Kool-aid and believing they could somehow magically make the risk go away are at fault.
The tragedy is that we as a nation of taxpayers had to step in and shoulder the consequences of all the bad decisions made by so many along the line. However difficult it is to accept, however wrong it feels to mop up after those who got caught in the web of their own greed, it truly was the only thing we could do to prevent not only the U.S. economy, but also the global economy, from grinding to a halt. Credit is the grease that keeps our economic gears working. In other words, if we were to do nothing, all of us would feel the pain within a very short period of time. Our customers would face even greater challenges and many would not survive the winter. Many companies within in our association would be caught in the inevitable downward spiral and would undoubtedly cease to exist. We are a nation built upon the foundation of personal freedom and the responsibilities that go along with it. We must never forget that we are accountable for our own actions. We must also work to elect and support those who will put this nation ahead of their own personal agenda. Being involved in the political process is the only way to make it happen. I encourage you to be a part of the process and let those who represent you know what is expected of them. Too much is at stake to not let our voices be heard.
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