Friday, August 5, 2011

Be Courageous, Mr. President: An Open Letter

Dear Mr. President,

There are times in our lives when our vision for how the world should be is in direct conflict with the reality. When this happens our choices are between altering our world view to match reality and pretending that reality has changed. The first choice can be unsettling; it's not easy to admit that we are wrong. The second choice corrupts our view of the world and is dangerous, perhaps even deadly.
Line art representation of a Quill
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I'm requesting, Mr. President, that you stand back and reassess your understanding of the world. At age 50 this will not be easy, but reality is knocking with a heavy fist. Many of us have noticed that the predictions of your economic advisors have been flawed and some, including me, would say that those predictions were radically incorrect. There is a single reason those predictions were so wrong. The models used by your advisors are based upon flawed assumptions of how the economy works and how people react to regulatory changes.

No offense Mr. President, but as Will Rogers pointed out, "We're all ignorant. Just on different subjects." Your life exposure to business at any level is less than any President in our history and, frankly, it shows. Even in your carefully written speeches, you seem to believe that starting a business is just a matter of snapping one's fingers. Your attitude comes across as condescending, almost like: well any idiot can start a successful business.

In fact, Mr. President, your dislike of the business community as a group is obvious despite your occasional, rote denial. Mr. President, if this economy is going to be saved, it is the private sector - business people and investors -  who are going to save it. Are you still under the illusion that your decisions in Washington can help business? No, Mr. President, your added regulations and taxes can only harm business.

We, the American people, need you to be courageous, Mr. Obama. You need to be courageous enough to look in the mirror and honestly review your decisions. Blaming former Presidents or an economy your policies have largely shaped will not help you make an honest evaluation.

You have made mistakes, but you have 17 months left in office. You can choose to make an honest review and change your policies. It's not too late for our country. Look at the actions of former President Clinton. He corrected his course and the economy flourished. Congressional Republicans twisted his arm, but he went along to everyone's benefit. It took courage and a gift for politics, but he did it.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averages fell over 512 points yesterday. I fully expect it to fall farther today. Investors are frightened and, more to the point, have lost confidence in the American economy. A speech will not cure this problem.

Only one thing will make a real difference and that is a decision you must make. You will choose to change your policies or choose to blame Republicans for the debt negotiations or the minuscule spending cuts. I have some hope, but based on your prior actions, I expect it to be the latter. If that is the outcome, it will mean that you have chosen a hazy fantasy over a challenging reality.

Life is not fair, but that does not mean you get a free pass. You asked to be President. You campaigned to be President. Now is the time for you to be President. That means accepting responsibility for your own actions and policies. It means tossing aside your radical, flawed beliefs and governing based upon reality. Your choice affects not just 310 million Americans; it will affect billions of people around the world. Choose well.


Ken Carroll

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