A Correction is in Order

Much has been said and written lately regarding the state of the economy and all the factors that have led us to the brink of recession. There’s no way I can do the situation justice in a mere 400 words, so let me just state that the economy needs a correction. To put it another way, what goes up must come down. And the longer the Fed and others try to defy economic gravity and keep a $13 trillion economy floating on nothing but speculative air, we’re delaying the inevitable. And the sooner we can get this correction behind us, the sooner prices can ease, markets will stabilize and some semblance of equilibrium can return to a skittish investor class.

This past week’s action on Wall Street is a perfect example: Following the Fed’s decision to pump $30 billion in guaranteed loans to prop up the floundering brokerage house Bear Stearns, traders jumped in glee, sending the market up hundreds of points. Just 24 hours later, however, traders gave all those gains back. The Fed’s actions had merely bought us a day’s worth of confidence. Yawn …

In case you didn’t know, I’m not an economist, but I am a student of history. And you don’t need to look back too far to see that the Fed is only so good at avoiding market downturns. Just look at its actions in the early ’70s — they pumped currency in ’71, but only postponed the larger economic shocks later that decade.

So what will a correction bring, Armstrong? For one, smarter investments and investment decisions. As hard as it may be to fathom, we’ve got to stop telling people that homeownership is a right, a necessity that must be achieved at all costs — and that if you can’t make the payment, the government will bail you out. That message should be: If you can’t afford a home in the long run, wait — don’t just bank on more money coming in the future.

Finally, we need a strong jolt to the economy that starts with a strong jolt to the head! Take some personal responsibility for the greed that has pervaded the housing and brokerage market for close to a decade now. As David Brooks said this week, our economic system is based on personal responsibility. To think otherwise that people can take horrendous risk knowing the government can bail them out would be ruinous to our economy.

We’re already seeing the hangover effects of a recession, so let’s go ahead and enter it so we can quickly get out of it!


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com .

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