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Deika Morrison: Reasoning the Reasons

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Deika Morrison: Financial Security Tips+Tools

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another open letter to legislators

We are all tired.


No matter how much you like roller coaster rides, at some point one gets dizzy, then one gets sick, and one can get so sick one never wants to go on another roller coaster ride ever - seriously, ever.

The analysts say today's market rally was due to:

1) "correction" from over-selling (translation: people panicked too much the day before)

2) hope - from more promises (thankfully guarded) from legislators - that a bailout would be coming and they did hear the markets, and did seem to see that the markets were "in poverty" (maybe the markets were singing after all)

3) talk that the FDIC was going to ask Congress to increase the insurance limits from $100,000 to $250,000. Great news. A higher level of savings are safe. Fabulous for confidence. Markets like predictability; markets like the prospects of people having more money to invest in it. Markets think its going to happen. People think its going to happen. This will be an incredibly expensive disappointment if it does not happen.

4) the SEC provided "clarifications" on the fair value accounting. Let me oversimplify this so I don't lose the non-business non-accounting readers.
  • Companies like to make more money, not less.
  • There is a very rigid rule related to assets that made companies less profitable - some say unfairly so but at least it did so consistently. So its like saying - You house is worth $5 because the "markets" say it is worth $5 when you paid at least $20.
  • Companies had to be less profitable by the same rule.
  • This rigid rule when applied to complex exotic financial instruments based on people's mortgages has proved to be quite problematic (to be nice), so the SEC issued a "clarification" which is equivalent to relaxing the rule without saying so.
  • This means companies can make more money.
  • The market rallied on the prospects of less rigidity and the potential to be more profitable.
  • Sound's pretty good so far BUT in an environment of complete distrust, where everybody has a different perspective and "judgment", this is just making it more difficult for people to determine if the value is "fair" - which is the point. But, it did make the market excited - even if it is just for a day.
But let's move on. I am personally delighted to hear Senators will vote tomorrow night on some bailout bill and I want to make a plea:

I had the privilege to serve as a Senator. In the normal course of the legislative process, the Senators (in the Upper House) receive the bill after it has been passed by Members of Parliament (in the Lower House). Senators are the last review before any bill becomes signed into law. We knew the weight of the responsibility on our shoulders. Our focus was substance, substance, substance; even if sometimes our speeches reflected partisan views. There is nothing wrong with partisan views - they are a natural part of a democratic system and a democratic system is what we have until we change it. Senators were extremely proud of the fact that we in the Upper House did things, let's say - differently. It was rare for us to engage in vitriolic banter. Any one who did would quickly be chided "You are NOT in the Lower House".

So Senators, on both sides of the aisle, especially since you are taking the infrequently used step of initiating legislation, please inject some sanity and civility into this process:

Wall Street is not the only one on the line.
Main Street is not the only one on the line.
The American economy is not the only one on the line.
The American people are not the only ones on the line.
Democracy itself has been and remains on the line

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Reasoning The Reasons by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.