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COMMENTARY:

Thinking about Reconsiderations

by Fred Cederholm

Several of the bailout programs have not spent the BILLIONs (or TRILLIONs) authorized. A temporary hold on continued expenditures is now “unofficially” in place. We are also reconsidering our quagmire in Afghanistan, as to whether we should avoid a proposed more costly effort.

I’ve been thinking about reconsiderations. Actually I’ve been thinking about the Obama administration, the war in Afghanistan, the US Dollar, reserve currencies, China and Japan, and US Treasury Securities. It is hard to admit that the choices you have made are wrong, that you must re-TH*NK your policies, and that a change of direction must be made to save face and minimize costs.

You see the presidential administration of Barack Obama is going on three months past being one-eighth over! While I may not remember a whole lot about this past summer of 2009 because of my hospitalizations and surgeries, I do distinctly remember the inauguration of January 20th. Because this was the beginning of the first term of office of an African American President and the global economy looked like it was going to implode before summer, there was even more speculation as to what would transpire. Obama and his team were viewed as both a savior and an antichrist. His projections and actions taken by a highly “presidential friendly” Congress took the Everett Dirksen quotation out three more digits to: “a TRILLION here a TRILLION there... pretty soon you are talking about real money.”

There were some serious 1,000 page plus bills and bailouts railroaded through Congress and had NOT been read before passage. (I doubt that they have been read and fully comprehended by the end of September!) I was taken aback and felt these wouldn’t do a thing ---- but buy some time. It would appear that that observation still holds true. Nothing was really fixed despite the gargantuan promises and expenditures, but did these actions make the situation any worse? My take is...not really. We did survive two calendar quarters without self-destruction, but our deficits continue to grow exponentially.

Several of the larger bailout programs have not spent the BILLIONs (or TRILLIONs) authorized. Their impact to date has been considered and a temporary hold on continued expenditures is now “unofficially” in place. For that I am so gratefully thankful. These writings of the special interests by their lobbyists and legal counsel may even be rescinded. Halleluiah! There is even talk of Congress requiring a three day delay in voting to give our elected representatives a chance to read legislation before voting on it. DOUBLE Halleluiah!!! The President, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank have even expressed a time out to re-TH*NK policies and bailout programs. TRIPLE Halleluiah!!!

Reconsiderations of actions have spread to international policies and our global policing, too. Just last week our commander in Afghanistan stated how thousands of more troops would be needed to “win” the war, and to succeed in the objectives. Like our Vietnam actions, I am hard pressed to detail any nicely defined (and clear cut) objectives! By taking a time out to reconsider a prolonged quagmire (which almost destroyed the British in the Nineteenth Century and almost destroyed the Soviet Union in the Twentieth Century) we as a nation may save ourselves from the inevitable defeat in the Twenty-First Century. The costs of such endless warfare would almost pay for universal heath care in the US. Just what, if any, are our national interests in that bellicose and scruffy arena? This is a huge reconsideration.

Reconsiderations are presently not the sole objective of the US alone. Recent developments (and rumblings) at the United Nations Conference in New York and at the G-20 conference of the planet’s largest economies at Philadelphia showed that the rest of the world is concerned about the US debt, the US deficits, and the US Dollar. There is true justification for their concerns as they are holding the lion’s share of these and are in no position to write off such huge numbers of investments. Problem is we as a people and a nation need to centime their BILLIONs in daily investments to keep US/us in the game. The amounts owed by us go well beyond the huge. Any one of the four groupings – Japanese, Chinese EURO zone and the Arab OPECs – cannot suddenly dump their Dollar denominated holdings without starting a panic and instigating gargantuan losses for everyone. They are locked into the marriage.

There is a further consideration at work here besides self-preservation and greed. Just what would replace the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency? There is NOTHING out there in the world that is large enough in numbers to take over from the American Buck. Even the EURO is not big enough to replace the TRILLIONS in Dollar based assets. In banking it has been said: “Loan someone a few thousand and you have a borrower... loan someone MILLIONs or BILLIONs (or TRILLIONS) and you have a partner.” “Too big to fail” now also applies to US/us and THAT may just save us!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.


Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at asklet@rochelle.net.


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This story was published on September 28, 2009.