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Posts Tagged ‘financial crisis’

       Thank God for the updates on the news…it has been officially announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, that the United States is in a RECESSION!  No kidding, Who knew?  Just about everybody except those who should have known–like the people running our economy!!!  Duh!

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      I have been thinking about leadership alot lately and it’s direct connection to success or failure.  Leadership whether it is in government, business, organizations, religions, education or, in personal relationships is very important.  Not everyone can be an effective leader.  There are more followers than leaders; so it is extremely important to follow the right person. 

       Whether a leader is skilled in certain areas determines how successful his/her leadership is.  Leading is not for the fainthearted; you can’t please everyone or, be their friend.  Some of the decisions a good leader has to make are extremely unpopular.  You can have productive relationships though, that are built out of respect, authority, compassion and hard work.  Those who are under your leadership have to know that you are informed and that you respect & understand their sacrifice to get the job done. 

        A good leader knows how to inspire, how to instruct, how to encourage, and how to redirect someone who is misguided, ill informed, has a poor work ethic or is saturated in a poor attitude.  A good leader knows when to use incentives and when praise or recognition will be more effective. 

        I know our country is in the midst of some deep and difficult issues.  Positive and productive leadership has never been more important.  A good leader also recognizes when they are out of their league and seeks a higher counsel…someone who is an expert in the area of concern.  I hope that those who are taking the reins of government leadership in our country are willing to lead with proper education and guidance… it is not a failure to admit that you don’t know all of the answers; it is a failure to not be willing to be educated in those areas.  We have much to accomplish and overcome in a short period of time.

        There is a great new book out by Lee Iacocca on leadership called, Where Have All Of The Leaders Gone?  I recommend reading this one.  This book gives some great advice on leading.  It also gives a bit of background information on the automotive business. 

         With the financial crisis hitting our country and the obviously failing auto industry…Lee’s book is timely.  I suggest that the new President elect Barack Obama consult with Mr. Iacocca on any proposed government bailout loan of the auto industry.  There has been some criticism about President Bush’s alleged lack of response to the auto industry’s struggles.  Now, if the American auto industry fails to succeed…we all will suffer the consequences.  I think that we already have been …but, it is only going to get worse without addressing the issue in a real purposeful way.  They are many businesses and employees who will be affected in a trickle down kind of action if and when the auto industry hits the roadblocks. 

        It would be wise to remember that whenever one major industry fails it generally has a domino effect on those sub-supportive businesses that supply the chain of industry.  We need to figure out some answers before we are all out of jobs.  We must demand competent leadership and hold them to a higher moral & ethical standard of conduct.  We are tired of those in business and industry who are content to take the money at the top and move on when they get their rewards…not caring about the outcome for those under their leadership.  Enough of the high salary CEO’s (or politicians) who don’t look long-term at the consequences of their decisions and their actions.  Americans must demand success in our leaders because the potential impact of failure is unacceptable!

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        This election has electrified American’s like no other election in my memory.  People have strong reactions to the ups and downs on the daily news.  The media’s interpetation of what is happening minute- by- minute in the run for the Presidency of the United States is very slanted in it’s presentation.  It gives the impression that one doesn’t even need to vote…that it is already a done deal…IT IS NOT!  Everyone who is able must vote.  Everyone has a voice and must use it to choose who they wish to represent them in the leadership of their country.

          It has been called everything from a very prettified “Historic Election” to “A Mess”.  From the outset of this journey…it was touted as an election to take notice of, be a part of and yet; once the Democrats chose their candidate…and the Republicans chose theirs, the battle lines have been drawn.  The media has all but declared a win for Barack Obama.

           Each candidate has claimed that it is time for change.  Most Americans couldn’t agree more with that; however, the last few weeks have been increasing in ugliness.  Citizens are not happy with the direction our country has taken in the quality of life, nor in the image that has been projected of Americans around the world.  That has to be addressed.  Add into the chaos of the multi national financial systems collapse, and the housing market crisis, and throw into the mix health care & job losses; and you should have a clear platform for a political candidate to voice their position and their solutions.  It hasn’t happened yet.  The candidates are too afraid of voicing their true position on the issues in fear of alienating some section of voters…so we are left to our own impressions of where the candidates stand.

          Part of the fear and anxiety in this country has been the lack of information needed to make an informed decision.  Questions have been raised about personal integrity, honesty and positions of faith.  Candidates can say what they want about the image that they try to project…however, actions speak louder than all of the words written for them by their well-paid speech writers.  The truth of who a candidate really is will eventually come out.  I just hope that each will reveal themselves before the actual election.  We are in real trouble when the media and celebrity spokespersons are the go to sources of information.  We only learn what they want us to learn. 

           Hate and violence should never have a place in American politics.  Let the candidates show and declare their true value systems and positions on the issues.  There is a huge movement that has building over the last decade or so, against people of faith who try to vote their values and who hold their political leaders to some level of positive role modeling.  Why is that wrong? In my opinion, it isn’t.  Standards of behavior should be based on an acceptable level to the people that the candidates represent.

           We have, over the years, removed God from our schools, we have demanded seperation of church and state, and some talk of taking that even farther by removing the “Under God” from our pledge of allegience.  There is even an organization dedicated to supporting non-believers in God or atheists in their candidacy; it is called, Godless Americans Political Action Committee.  They have a right to form their committee just as others have a right to question a candidate about their alliance to such an organization and how it will affect their position should they be election to a position of power.  Plain and simple; let the truth be known if you are associated with such an organization and let the voter’s decide whether you merit a vote or not; don’t hide your involvement and don’t lie to the people who you would represent if elected.

            Really, if you are a Christian…this election is about staking your claim for your personal beliefs and value systems.  Don’t vote in this election based just on your economic situation; or, on falling for the one liner…”we want change”….because…if you don’t vote your Christian values then you and the rest of the citizens of the United States are on a slippery slope.  Quality of life is in question as it is with all of the challenges to traditional religious views such as one man one woman marriages and standing up for family values.  If we allow our leadership to rest in the hands of people who don’t consider themselves accountable to a higher power or authority under God, then we really are in trouble as a nation.

            I don’t think that America is ready, willing or able to endorse Godlessness in our Political leaders; do you?

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       Here is something to think about with all of the financial crisis making the daily news.  Have you signed anything legal agreeing to rip yourself off financially?  Many people probably haven’t realized this aspect of the times yet…but, a normally smart thing to do each summer is to sign up for a budget plan with your winter heating fuel supplier…agreeing to “lock in” a price when the prices are low during the summer…just in case the price of heating oil/gas goes up, like it normally does in the fall and winter months.

        This year…against any predictable reasoning…gas prices have fallen, sharply.  Still, once people sign on the dotted line to lock in a heating source price…they truly are locked in at that price.   I think as people discover this situation for themselves…there is going to be alot of anger of being caught in this situation.  Some say, that most years it makes sense to lock in and it works out to their advantage…but, this year has really challenged that theory.

          Locking in makes sense usually; the agreement is usually accomplished in mid summer.  Well….if you remember correctly, in July…gas prices were sky high.  In my neck of the woods…gasoline prices have dropped from an all time high of approximately $4.25 down to now a $2.88 cents a gallon.  If you apply that thought process to home heating oil/propane….you can just imagine how much money that people are loosing.

          With the rising cost of food, rent/mortgage payments, health insurance, and other necessities…people can ill afford to pay extra when they don’t have to.  I, for one, am glad that i didn’t lock in my propane prices; like i was advised to! 

          Did you get ripped off by signing an agreement to lock in your heating costs this year?  If you did…you are not alone…and personally i don’t think anyone expected such a situation…but, it really is a gamble trying to predict the future with heating costs.  I am pretty sure that, next year, companies will have a hard time getting people who were burned this year, to sign on the dotted line.  Just stop and think about how many people are living on fixed incomes…i almost hate to see winter arrive because…we will see more people suffering and living in dangerous conditions, in colder climates, because of this.

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       Breaking news this hour, the Dow soared up 938 points…the highest point climb in a single day ever!  This is following 8 previous days of losses.   It could soar to the moon; but, unless we get things stabilized…that too, could only add to the unrest.  However, getting the the numbers back up into a zone that is positive again is very important to instilling confidence in the market once again. This is good news all around the world as governments have pledged to get behind banking systems around the world.  People are breathing a momentary sigh of relief…as the past week or more has been full of doom and gloom which has only added to the financial anxiety.  Let’s see what happens now!  Will this financial encouragement impact the election at this late date?   Do you think those in charge of safeguarding the future have learned anything in this crisis?

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        The Sky is falling…the sky is falling…does anyone remember that saying from the children’s story…Chicken Little?  That is how I am feeling today about the hysteria surrounding the money markets.  The more that the warnings go out…the more hysteria that takes place, which then makes the markets more unstable.  The dow is beginning to resemble a roller coaster ride.

          I fell for it…and i am sure there are others who are biting the bullet as far as the panicked feeling.  Everyone is panicking.  Other countries are panicking too.  Because of it…the instability is contagious.  Everyone needs to stop….take a deep breath and let things settle for a few days.  Don’t sell out of panic…don’t buy out of panic…just stop and let things settle into what they are; do what you normally would do.

          I know the need to protect what you have worked for, i know the need to keep your personal finances bubblewrapped to the best of your ability, i know the fear that won’t let you sleep because you may not be able to send your kids to college, retire, or live without too much heartache with your daily spending.  Truth is, most of us needed to tighten our belts and live the way we were taught which is to save up to buy what you want…not overextend yourself with credit and pay as you go.  This is common sense.  It is also common sense to establish some credit…but you must be vigilant and pay it as it comes due…not let credit become the disaster that it has become.

          Businesses, banks, real-estate companies all are in the position that many of us regular people have been in.  The problem is that they can’t operate if their customers can’t pay.  We can’t pay if we don’t have jobs or homes to live in.  It is a vicious cycle.  Everything needs to stabilize long enough for an honest evaluation of where we are at.  At the moment, it is like a lake that has had a boulder fall from the cliffs into the center of the lake; there are ripples that are still rocking the boat floating on the surface.   The shifting that keeps taking place is definately keeping the extent of the damage unclear.

         Putting measures into effect to try to “correct” the market is just going to continue to keep things out of control.  This whole financial crisis is scary as heck…i won’t deny that.  But, we have no accurate way to measure the actual scope of the damage.  There is something to be said for an old adage such as, moderation in all things. 

         The people & companies that put us in this situation are going to have to make better decisions, they have to have consequences for the mistakes that they have made, and they are going to have to put procedures into place to prevent repeating the same mistakes.  The housing markets, the oil companies, the credit card companies and the banking industry all need to take stock of how they have each added to this disaster, and do a review of business 101.  Make more than you spend, lend less than you can afford to lose, and build trust and relationships with your customers!  What a novel idea…we can all learn from those practices.

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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