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Solutions to financial problems up to individuals

Monday, October 6, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT

It's hard to know what Americans want these days. In face of the worst financial crisis of our lifetime, they are extremely angry about Wall Street's economical greed, but many seem to be willing to overlook the government's negligence in regulating the way the corporations have conducted business. Even in the midst of predicting disaster for the country, the Democrats and Republicans still are unable to resist blaming each other. If the present situation does not bring people to their senses about the ineffectiveness of the two-party system, I really don't know what will.

If the financial experts are to be believed, thing are going to get rougher. The optimists believe that the country will pull out of the mess eventually because it always has. Some people have been taught to believe that the country is invincible. Personally, I'm not sure. The country's dependence on borrowing money from other countries in order to maintain our standard of living seems to me a very dangerous path to travel. Apparently, the politicos are a lot more trusting than I am. I see no reason to believe that other countries have as high an opinion of us as we do of ourselves.

Let's talk: Columbia and the presidency

The United States will go to the polls to elect a new president on Nov. 4. Before we go to the polls, let's have a conversation about how our lives here in mid-Missouri will be impacted.

Tell us: How will Columbia be affected by the next president?

Submissions will be printed at ColumbiaMissourian.com and in the Missourian during the week of Oct. 19. All we ask is that you sign your name and provide a telephone number (not printed; just there in case we have a question).

To send in your submission:

E-mail: editor@ColumbiaMissourian.com
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Anyway, I think the people who will survive this disaster most successfully will be those who use this time to examine their own lives and figure out how they can best cope with the situation. Just like many individuals who have figured out various strategies to deal with high gasoline prices, we can all look at other areas of our lives and make whatever adjustments are necessary to get through this period as best we can.

One of the major problems most of us will have to deal with is stress. Many people already facetrying to keep the wolf away from the front door while operating under the strain of family illnesses, caring for elderly relatives or wayward teenagers, and it will take every ounce of strength and energy to persevere. Such things as job loss and inability to get student loans will bring further pressure to bear as the crisis churns on and on. It will be a good time for friends and families to huddle closer and make fun and relaxation a necessary part of daily activities.

I think we can be certain that government and big business will not look after us. The capitalists are telling us to let the free market work its own problems out and that government intervention will only make it worse. Some are suggesting that the government let the companies that are in trouble go bankrupt. That, I imagine, would be OK with most of us. Unfortunately, millions of people are living on the edge, and they can't afford to sit back and wait for the market to right itself while stocks plunge and jobs go down the drain. They, at least, don't want to walk around every day feeling like the earth might crumble beneath their feet with the next step. While the government may or may not help the situation some would like to feel that somebody's at least trying. I don't think most of us would like to sit around for the next six or seven months wringing our hands.

Many of us would like to hope that regulation is back on the front burner. If the people playing fast and loose with their company's money in the end only cut off their own noses, that would be one thing, but dragging the whole country down with them is a different issue. All the fat cats with the golden parachutes still have plenty of money in their pockets, so they could care less about the credit market because they can pay in cash. If the stockholders are left penniless or workers are out of jobs they could care less. This situation was created strictly by deregulation, and I think the  people who caused that to happen should be thrown out of public office.

This is the price we are paying for all the abuses of power that have taken place over the years. More laws should be passed to limit the activities of lobbyists. These legislators, lobbyists and free-marketers have been having a fine old time at the expense of taxpayers. I would like to see all who participated in bringing about this disaster replaced.

But I have every reason to believe that the Republicans and Democrats will come out just fine. They may be willing to say that the Wall Street financiers should be held accountable but any suggestion that they should have to account for their behavior, I'm sure will be met with a ho-hum attitude.

Well, at least the Wall Street CEOs have given us a lesson to record in the history books. I think we will all remember just as there are those who build from the ground up, there are those who corrupt and destroy from the top down.

Maybe, we could title that theme, The Legacy of the Golden Parachute. May it rest in peace forever.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.


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