Sometimes people ask me what this financial crisis is all about.
In a word: confidence.
It's about confidence.
The confidence of lenders to lend, and borrowers to borrow.
The confidence of shoppers to shop, and retailers to hire folks because they will shop.
It's about homebuyers feeling confident to look at homes, and home builders feeling confident to then build homes.
Trouble is folks are not confident.
Lenders get money, but won't lend.
Borrowers have money, but won't buy.
And homebuyers see value, but won't budge.
This stuff happens when stuff keeps happening.
When bailouts keep coming but no one's keeping track of what they're costing.
When rescues are rescued from themselves.
When the smartest people in the world keep re-writing the very bailout rules intended to save the world.
So we all ask, what in the world?
And we don't budge.
We don't buy.
We don't borrow.
We don't do anything.
We sit. And we wait. And we watch. And we worry.
About leaders who can't seem to lead.
And regulators who can't seem to regulate.
About rescues that have no rules.
And bailouts that have no conditions.
Auto companies get a pass for being incompetent.
Banks a pass for being indifferent.
We seem to intrinsically realize throwing money at a problem doesn't solve the problem.
Yet we've lost confidence in our leaders because they have no problem with this problem.
So they make the problem greater, and costlier, on our dime.
And they wonder why we refuse to spend that dime.
It's a wonder they wonder why at all.
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