In 1974 Billy Graham made a statement imbedded in my consciousness ever since: "The problem is now so complex there is no solution." He went on to say that every time we find a "solution" to one problem the solution itself generates two or more new problems that would not have existed except for our solution. He said this in 1974!
One wonders what Dr. Graham thinks about the current financial situation(s)?
I'm no economist, but I do know a little about history. Any "insider" who knew what was going on in the financial world of 1929 would be horrified to hear the news we're getting in 2008. Let's see:
The economy slows down, resulting in people defaulting on mortgages
Because of bad loans banks fail
Because of banking problems the stock market declines
Decline of the American markets becomes a shot heard round the world
Someone, first the government and then Warren Buffett, throws money in the pot
The government, having spent more of our money than actually exists, looks for cash from an economy that has slowed down
As a result of the solution the stock marketů.
And the slow economy thenů..
1929 anybody? It is alleged that many insiders, recognizing what was going on made fortunes on the 1929 Stock Market crash. Suffice it to say the rules of the game are changed and it is very possible no one will come out with a profit in the event of some future market collapse.
Now we are going for a quick fix, Congress pressured to pass a new solution the consequences of which are unimaginable. Quick fixes are great. For example, hidden in the reports of defaults and decimation was a notice that the Treasury was printing more money to "solve" the immediate problem [whatever it was that day]. Then they tell us that, of course, this will cause inflation -- the dollars we're holding will be worth less. Why? No idea. Only know immediate solutions seem to create immediate problems.
The current Presidential candidates are trying to convince us (and themselves) they alone can solve the problem once they take over next January. They cannot. Ralph Nader has about as much chance of solving these problems as any other candidate. The way our system works is that first the new President has to come up with a solution, himself depending on the current crop of "experts" for what he submits to Congress. Then 200+ Representatives and 50-plus Senators have to come up with a compromise approved by about three committees. In the best of times all of this takes long enough for the situation on the ground to change for the worse. What actually comes out is rarely what the President submitted. Be not deceived. No President can solve the problems -- only make new problems by imposing new solutions. We may, indeed, find peace in our time; but some new, totally inconceivable problem lies lurking in the fine print. If you are picking your guy based on his ability to solve the problem you are most concerned about, find a better basis for choice.
"The problem is now so complex there is no solution."
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.