Friday Five May 26

Facebook ran through its’ IPO this week. Their stock is falling – mainly because they issued too many shares and they don’t have a good revenue model. Stories like this don’t help either. Interestingly enough, NASDAQ would have stopped the IPO had they known the extent of the technical problems that were inherent in their systems.

Two stories this week continue to illustrate the growing divide in our country. The divide is on nearly every line possible: economic, theology, cultural, political and so forth. The first story is about how the left is trying to intimidate the Justices on the Affordable Health Care Act as they work to decide the constitutionality of the law. The second is a well-written opinion on how defending capitalism is equated with being offensive to Obama. Both are symptoms of the larger problem in our country: we no longer have even a thread of shared morality or ethics in this country. While we have a legal system, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an issue that nearly every American agrees with.

High rates of joblessness and home foreclosures are two signs that a city is in trouble. The good news is that home foreclosures are starting to go down – a sign that the economy is improving. This is great to see, though I think all of us realize we’re not out of the woods yet. Another sign of good news is the bipartisan offer from four Senators who are working together to pass legislation to help businesses create more jobs. What I like about this is that we have someone stepping up to offer some good ideas from both sides of the aisle. What is not surprising is that they are showing leadership in a body that lacks leadership. I think Senator Reed has been a poor excuse for a Senate leader. He has not allowed a budget to come forward for nearly 3 years, ignoring his legal and moral obligations to the country. The fact that our country just shrugs our shoulders in response to his lack of leadership is a quiet reflection of the apathy most of us feel toward our government and our nation.

I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at the way we cover for Congress. This article is a good example. While the CBO is telling us that another recession looms if Congress doesn’t act, what I wonder is why they think the Fed should shoulder the responsibility of the Congress? Why can’t we just hold Congress accountable and not look to other institutions to get results they are not designed to achieve? I agree with CEO Oberhelman: we lack real leadership in this country. Our congress is polarized and can’t lead – primarily because our country is polarized (here and here too). Our President is pitting one group of people against other groups and he gets applause for doing so. IMHO, the polarization comes not from the grassroots, but from a combination of fringe groups who use civil disobedience to push their agendas along with leaders who seek to win through dividing this country along racial, economic, religious and partisan lines. We are slowly Balkanizing into a multiple set of cultures which will result, eventually, in a permanent division of these united states. It may take another hundred years, but the foundation is being laid. You have multiculturalism to thank for this as well. Can we disagree without hating each other? I honestly don’t know anymore. And I don’t know if a nation whose values are so fundamentally disparate among the major groups can engage in self-government without fracturing. I just don’t see how it will work in the long run. Shifting the responsibilities of Congress onto another group only masks the much larger and more important, fundamental issues. We have a serious problem in this country and it’s not with the political parties. It is with ourselves.

Why is it all about Bain? While Romney’s time at Bain is fair game, I also think the loss of jobs and equity that President Obama instituted in order to save GM and Chrysler is fair game too. Does anyone recall all of the dealerships that Obama put out of business (here too)? The hypocrisy of the Obama campaign is unbelievable. Let’s rake Romney over the coals for destructive capitalism, but let’s not mention the jobs and profitable businesses that Obama destroyed. Obama did the very thing he is criticizing Romney for. Keep that in mind the next time you hear him and his team talk about all the jobs Romney was responsible for destroying.


Bill English, CEO