Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Hope Is Not A Strategy....

...nor is it a goal."

I recall several years ago I was giving a quarterly presentation in front of my colleagues, Regional Manager, Regional V.P. and Division President on my business plan for my branch. Things were going well until I received a challenging question on my estimated sales growth. I begin the answer with "I hope to be able to..." then it went down hill. These words resonate with me until this very day from my Regional V.P. "Hope is not a strategy and definitely should not be your goal." I spent the next 30 minutes defending every aspect of my quarterly business review while my colleagues grimaced and some snickered(better you than me). I survived and learned a valuable lesson and so did they. Never use Hope as part of an answer. Yet we have allowed ourselves to believe that Hope is the panacea for our ailing economy.

Americans voted for Hope on November 4, 2008. And Hope is what everyone keeps talking about when it comes to our economy. Here is how Barack Obama defined Hope during a campaign stop in New Hampshire last January; “Hope is not blind optimism. Hope is not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside of us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that there is something greater inside of us.” That was then this is now!

I waited patiently for Timothy Geithner to bring forth his plan to spend the balance of the TARP funds in Hope of shoring up our financial institutions. Yet I am still waiting. He detailed a plan of still planning. I watched his boss, President Obama, tell us on Monday evening that "my Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, will present to you on tomorrow the plan..." Geithner did say that it would be costly, "This strategy will cost money, it will involve risk and it will take time." We Hope that all of this works!

Attacking the financial collapse on three fronts:

1.) Working to restart the flow of credit. I don't hear a detailed plan in this. Must be Hope.
2.) Removing bad debt from the books of troubled banks. He did give greater details on this front.
3.) Providing assistance for ordinary Americans and small businesses. I'll wait for the plan.

Hoping for the best is the same as not having a strategy. It is dangerous if you do not take into consideration that the worst could happen and act from that standpoint. The Obama administration along with our congressional leaders are not acting rationally. We are in for a tough and long haul. It is going to cost trillions to put this Hope into action.

The final stimulus package that will go to the president will be about $790 billion. It will include lots of spending that should be part of the normal budgetary process but because Obama believes he has to do something now it got rushed to completion. Yes, something had to be done but why did it have to be done so quickly without much thought and oversight? Why was Kruella D'Pelosi given so much latitude with which to comprise such a bill? Why did the entire Republican delegation vote against it in the House? Why did all but 3 Republicans not vote for it in the Senate? Mr. Obama insists that he has to do something. But things done in haste always end up with waste. Since I have no idea what the compromise package is I will reserve criticism until it is presented. But remember that if you borrow from the economy then put it back as spending you haven't added anything except debt. But remember this: Hope is not a strategy!

Yet the American people hold out for Hope! Its what keeps some us going each day.

Thats my word. Post yours!

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