I have an idea for Uncle Sam to pursue in stimulating the economy. I feel that this idea has not been tried by any administration in the 232-year history of our republic. This policy should be embraced in a bi-partisan manner and should appeal to both free market conservatives and more socially inclined liberals. It's really quite innovative, if I do say so myself. Here is what I think that the commerce secretary, treasury secretary and all the other big cheeses should implement immediately for the next 90 days:
Just shut up.
D-d-d-d-d! Not another word. Shush. Please. I want to hear crickets chirp in a distant valley.
Now hear me out, Mr. Bernanke, Paulsen and Co. I am in the trenches. I speak with buyers, sellers, borrowers and investors every day. Here's what I have found out: Every time you stand in front of a microphone you TALK PEOPLE OUT OF ACTING IN THEIR NATURAL TIMEFRAME. Yes. Each statement you make about what you're going to do to get this economy moving again automatically convinces a huge number of people to wait and see another few months before they act. Wait and see is killing commerce in the housing sector, you dopes.
- "Rates have been lowered for the 50th time to .0000025? I'll wait and see if they lower them again." Rates aren't low enough? Draconian underwriting is hurting borrowers, not high rates!
- "They aren't buying bad loans with the $700 million after all? I'll wait and see what they do with the money." How can people be confident in rescue plans if you don't keep your word?
- "The government just socialized the banks? I'll wait and see if that works." Why was this necessary?
- "Auto executives are going to ride their bikes to Washington next time? I'll wait and see how that goes." Why should we pay the bill for 40 years of crappy energy/nonexistent policy?
- "Why should I sell my lis pendens house? Obama will save me!" Puh-lease.
If you screw up a haircut badly enough, you can't cut your way out. Sometimes you just have to look stupid for two weeks before you can fix it. You just have to grow it out. After you grow it out you can start over.
Get the picture? People aren't buying houses because they are having babies, getting married, sick of living with their in-laws or other normal reasons because they are so completely freaked by the Jeckyll and Hyde posturing coming out of Washington. I know these bozo politicians act like they are trying to DO SOMETHING, but their efforts are sabotaging what really needs to happen, which is to have consumers return to the marketplace with a modicum of confidence. And at this point, with the economy looking like it lost a fight with a blind psychotic barber, everything proposed is making people sit on their hands a little longer at a time when we need them to get off their tushes.
Let's just be at peace with looking dumb for a little while, as if we gave ourselves a bad homemade haircut. Maybe the lesson will take this time.
Maybe in your quiet time, Uncle Sam, you can figure out a way for Fannie, Freddie, Madoff, Sub-prime, Lehman Brothers, Meryll Lynch, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Ameriquest, and the rest, all of which came home to roost within 18 months of each other, to NEVER OCCUR AGAIN. All of us worker drones in the trenches will do the rest. You'll see.