No. 680 - CAN YOU SPELL T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-C-Y?

No. 680



We have just come through the most expensive election in our nation’s history. The American people have spoken and now we will wait four more years to do it again. It’s been said that our election process is like making sausage, it’s not pretty but it gets the job done. The thing that really makes our election process special is the peaceful transfer of power. After it’s all said and done, the dirty tricks, name calling and all the rest, we are still Americans and must go forward if our nation is to survive. Everyone has a different take on the major issues that confront us, but one we must get under control is our national debt.
As I write these words, our national debt is more than $10 trillion, and the interest on this debt has to be paid, just like the interest on a loan or a home mortgage. The big question that looms for me is, can we learn from our mistakes? Lord knows the previous administration has made plenty of blunders as we went from a $5 trillion national debt to over $10 trillion in eight years time. Of course the two wars we have been fighting have been a real drain on our resources, but the thing that has hurt us most is the lack of leadership and personal integrity on the part of our leaders, both in the public and private sectors.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to amplify some comments I heard several months ago during a television interview with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. To me, what he said was simple yet profound. With regard to our nation’s financial woes he said, “Don’t trust our federal government. Don’t trust Wall Street. Trust the American people.”
If you have kept up with what has happened on Wall Street and the mortgage crisis, you know that most of the financial crisis was caused by greed -- executives who were raking millions and millions of dollars off the top, even when the business was going under.
You may ask, why was this allowed to happen? It was simply because there was no oversight by the agencies that were supposed to regulate them. In many cases, it was like the fox guarding the hen house. When you have people in leadership positions with no integrity, it is a disaster just waiting to happen. As a result of the collapse of the financial markets, millions of honest, hard-working people lost a good percentage of their life savings and retirement income. I have faith in the American system and believe, in time, the markets will come back to pre-collapse levels, but there is certainly no guarantee of that.
After the fact, there is a move under way to install stronger regulations so this situation won’t happen again. Only time will tell if it works and Congress and our new president will have a lot to say about it. But back to what Mark Cuban was saying and the reason I wanted to share these thoughts with you. Mark said to “trust the American people” and we can now do that because of the technology that is available in our day and time. Since the money spent by our government is public money, either borrowed or raised from taxes paid by you and me, we have a right to know how this money is spent and who is spending it.
If we are to ever change our financial system, we must have one that is more transparent, and one that is scrutinized by the American people, rather than trusting the government or their cronies on Wall Street. Today, because of the computer we can do that. Just put it online, we know what’s right from wrong. We have unscrupulous people in the private sector as well, but there are sufficient numbers of honest people out here who can keep an eye on them. Do you agree? The irony of all this is that Mark Cuban himself has legal problems involving insider trading.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)