Barack, Larry, Timothy and a healthy dose of skepticism

I happily voted for Barack but just say I have a healthy dose of skepticism brewing regarding his handling of this financial mess.  The problems are enormous and he’s clearly capable. It’s not him…it’s them. Them, as in two key people around him – Larry Summers and Timothy Geitner. In my opinion, the President has to do two things immediately:

  • Restore confidence in the “nation of laws” by putting as many of the cheaters behind bars as fast as possible and putting in regulations that work;  and
  • Stop putting money into failed industries/sectors and start investing in entrepreneurship and risk taking to create jobs in new industries.

We have to do #1 so we don’t kill #2, our golden goose.

Regarding #1, Larry and Timothy know where the bodies are buried. If they don’t aggressively help the President, Congress, and the Justice Department find/convict the cheaters, the President has no choice but to can Larry and Timothy. I’m going to act my age (48) and not my shoe size (12) and say this: THEY. ARE. PART. OF. THE. PROBLEM. NOT. PART. OF. THE. SOLUTION. So, the $64,000 question:

Does the President have the leadership and fortitude to recognize this and get rid of them before it’s too late?

The cheaters and their cronies (have I mentioned, Larry and Timothy?) are saying, “Yes, we made mistakes, but if you punish us you’ll further destroy confidence.” Bullshit. Clean up the mess and you will have money flooding into Wall Street. We (the people) have to see the people who caused this held accountable and the system made “safe” again. To make it safe again, a good first step is to restore the Glass-Steagall Act. It separated “boring banking” from “venture/investment banking”. What the hell does banking have to do with investments? One should be low risk/ low reward and the other high risk/high reward and Glass-Steagall accounted for that…over 70 years ago! It was repealed in the early 90’s under Senator Phil Gramm’s leadership (have I used the word “cronie” lately?).

Regarding #2, I am involved in at least six concepts that could create jobs with as little as $25,000 of investment. (Question: How many times does $25k go into $700B, much less $2T?). Before we start flooding money back into Wall Street, now is the time to consider funding local private equity groups and entrepreneurs themselves. Here is a good start:

  • Stimulus money should go into Entrepreneurial groups and Angel Investor networks…even Venture Capital groups with a proven track record of separation from the mess. Check out TheFunded.com for Angel and VC groups real entrepreneurs feel are best-in-class.
  • Individuals making $100,000 or more a year should be given tax credits to invest in privately-held start-ups that have are registered with an authorizing group like your local Chamber of Commerce, University Entrepreneur Program, or Small Business Administration office.
  • Corporations should be given tax credits to fund/sponsor Entrepreneurial incubators or initiatives that are open to the public and administered by local, independent entrepreneurs.

That’s a start.

People are people — they will lie, cheat and steal if given a chance (see Citigroup, UBS, Goldman Sachs, … you know, the firms Larry and Timothy came from/are cozy with). On the other hand, people will also, if given a chance, do amazing things like innovate, create, grow, inspire…and, yes, create jobs.

So, lets just say I’m a little skeptical. I just hope my skepticism doesn’t turn into outrage and that outrage doesn’t end up directed towards the guy I voted for and the system I believe is the best the world has ever produced.

Life is short. Get to it.

James

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