A New Year's Prayer

By Liz Peek Financial Columnist

Dear Lord,

Please make me smarter in 2009. For example, I would really, really like to get a grip on credit default swaps, and why it is that taxpayers have had to fork over tens of billions of dollars to AIG. Just as an example, Lord.

More to the point, please help me to avoid all those boneheaded ideas (like buying oil futures at $100 and shorting Treasuries) that nearly ruined me in 2008. The next time someone says "This time is different", remind me of that famous investment proverb in Ecclesiastes: "There is nothing new under the sun." (I definitely promise to bone up on the Bible, Lord; frankly, I have no idea why there should be investment advice in Ecclesiastes, but I intend to find out. I am so over Jim Cramer.)

Lord, allow me to heed Your advice. You have shown us once again this past year that turning water into wine is Your territory. A lot of smart rich folks expected miracles from that scoundrel Bernie Madoff, but in the end, water turned out to be just plain water.


Help me to embrace Your Holy Word, oh Lord. I should know that a Burning Bush isn't yet another column from Paul Krugman, and that the Gates of Hell are not those erected by my idiot hedge funds. Please help me to remember that seven fat years may indeed be followed by seven lean years, and that consequently taking gains in bull markets is wise -- especially before the capital gains rate goes up.

I realize this is a tall order, Lord, especially since I would also like to include in this petition our leaders and legislators, who struggle mightily against the forces of stupidity, and also all those who have received TARP funding.

I also ask You to extend Your Enlightenment to the managers of Detroit's Big Three automakers (a different Big Three than we usually talk to You about - Ha! Ha! - a little Ecumenical humor there, Lord!). The car companies appear to be in desperate straits, though frankly since Chrysler is owned by a private equity firm, I don't think You need to waste so much time on them. But that's just my opinion.

Going back to our leaders and legislators, I implore You to remove the scales from their eyes on a number of fronts. We have big challenges facing our country Lord, and we need people of vision to lead us through the wilderness. Instead of piling up riches in heaven, I fear we are piling up a monstrous debt load that will be borne by the next generation. As they say in Ezekiel "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." Not sure what exactly that means, Lord, but surely my kids' teeth will be on edge if they have to pay off my borrowings.

Lord, I ask Your Help in these matters even though I have done many stupid things and have not been the humblest of servants (and especially when the Dow was north of 13,000). But, I promise to lead a simpler life going forward. Actually, my accountant has demanded that I lead a simpler life -- definitely no more Technicolor (or Oscar) dreamcoats unless they are really, really marked down.

Thank You for listening, oh Lord, and for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me and mine. I thank You especially for making me a citizen of the United States (and I would have said that even before seeing "Slumdog Millionaire"), and for the beauty of the world that is all around us. Thank You, too, for the love of friends and family, which is the true Blessing of this life, and for putting 2008 behind us. Amen.