Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have an Hypothesis

This was something that worked it's way into my head overnight. It's just an idea, or hypothesis, so I would like to propose it and see if anyone has any additional insight, particularly some of my more opionated readers like D. Sirmize...

OK, so I went to sleep watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I think I've already mentioned that it's my favorite news show, and it's pretty sad that it comes from a Comedy network... Anyway, last nights guest was Bill Clinton. I can honestly say that I haven't really seen much of the man, since I kicked my Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity addiction, so it was nice to watch, without thinking what a rotten, lying SOB he was - because that definitely wasn't the man I saw last night.

I thought he was well spoken, didn't resort to any mudslinging, despite Stewart giving him ample opportunity and I think he showed a great deal of understanding at the current economic situation. Something he said got me thinking though... He talked about how after the IT bubble burst, there was all this money that needed to go somewhere, and in 2001 people started investing in Real Estate, and that would appear to be the catalyst that got everything start for all that is happening now. He proffered the idea that had the money been invested into alternative energy sources and that kind of thing, the long term effect would likely have been remarkably different.

So here is my thinking...

Could it be that the greatness of America comes from an attitude of seeking out new frontiers, thinking outside the box and challenging ourselves? I think about the space program, the arms race during World War 2, even the Revolutionary war. These are all things which helped define this country and have aided in her greatness.

I'm not a proponent of the Global Warming Crisis, but I do thing we have a responsibility to take care of the environment, and alternative fuel sources do make sense to investigate.

Could it be that rather than America taking the next step after the dot com boom, and looking for a newer and more exciting challenge, we got lazy, and decided to rest on our laurels? I'm not saying that investing in Real Estate isn't a good thing, but it is not exactly cutting edge.

Could it be that the problem with the Bush Administration involving the current crisis, isn't a lack of oversight, or governmental control, but rather a lack of visionary leadership, and what has been missing is a leader who will stand and inspire us to reach outside ourselves and achieve something better.

I think this is a separate issue from the war on terror and other things associated with this administration.

Please feel free to comment and share your opinions on this idea - Thanks!


  1. 'The Daily Show' is awesome -- 'The Colbert Report' is even more awesome -- I hope you're watching that as well! I have to say I never got why people were so het up about Bill Clinton being a "liar" -- it never seemed to me that he lied any more than any other politician. He was just worse at it, and had less help from the press. Certainly, the whole Lewinsky business was no different than the affair of Bush Senior while he was in office (that everyone in Washington knew about), but nobody raised a fuss about that. To me the double standard is shocking. Can you explain to me what it was about Bill Clinton that caused that reaction in Republicans??

  2. Colbert and Stewart are about the only things I watch on TV these days - Until the new season of the office starts tonight!!!

    I think the Republicans smelt blood in the water, and people like Rush Limbaugh finally had a scandal that people responded to.

    Especially with recent events, like Larry Craig's little indescretion, the silence has been deafening. I know my very "Republican" parents were very concernerd that Craig might be a Mormon (living in Idaho), and when they found out he wasn't it was no big deal, yet they can't bear to even look at Mr. Clinton...

    I think the big problem is partisan politics - it's more about taking the other side down than attracting people to your principles. This is why I like Obama's campaign - It's about what he hopes to achieve and how he hopes to lead America. McCain on the other hand is running a campaign of look how bad Obama is, and Oh yeah.. Did you know I was a POW?

  3. I definitely see a problem with the current administrations (and potential future administrations) fear of progress.

  4. Real estate was invested in because it took little to no capital, making everyone a potential investor. Which made prices increase rapidly, which served to fuel the investor mania even further.

  5. A very valid point Cameron, and perhaps that is all it was - just an easy opportunity to invest. I guess hind sight is always 20/20, but it is interesting to consider is the outcome may have been different if we had been trying to push a limit, instead of just a nationwide get rich plan.

    Not that real estate isn't a good investment, but it doesn't seem to fit the America Spirit - if that makes any kind of sense...

  6. I had the same feeling about Clinton when I saw that interview the other night. I also think you have a point--America's frontier spirit definately helped make this country great and, I think, will make it great again. Hopefully our next administration will employ more wise, creative, and adventurous leaders and ideas to get us there.

  7. I feel a bit cheeky chipping in on US politics, given I don't actually live there. But I will say, if I wasn't already married to the lovely Mr Brown, I'd be throwing myself at that Jon Stewart chappy, in the most wonton way!

  8. Here's an interesting blog post that in some respects supports what you're saying. It discusses how a tax law change made in 1997 in regards to taxing the sale of a house contributed to the housing bubble. There's a link in that post to an article from 2005 which argues that this tax change was taking investment money away from tech companies and putting it into real estate.

    It's another example of federal tax policy driving and influencing the economy.

  9. Thanks Cameron! And for everyone else, the post he referenced in his comment is an excellent blog post, including some fairly insightful comments afterwards.

    For those who want the cliff-notes version. A change in tax policy back in 1997 (I think...) made real estate a far more attractive investment - Actually I too may have fallen into this trap, where it not for the fact that the thought of moving gives me cold sweats.

    Real Estate being a far more attractive investment attracted money, and less was spent in other areas. I heard once that one of the key differences between a first and third world country is that first world countries are involved in research.

    I think it's time for us as a nation to start looking forward again. Hopefully whichever candidate is elected will inspire us with a vision to do just that.

  10. As usual, I'm late to the party (been gone for a week or so). I can certainly respect the thought you have, as well as your hypothesis. I don't have enough time tonight to formulate a decent response, but I will agree that what we've lacked is true leadership.

    Now Colbert is pretty hilarious (though I think he can only play that part successfully for so long). I find Steward less funny during the scripted show and more funny during interviews. He kinda grew stale on me and I haven't watched him for a while. I used to really like that Showbiz Show with David Spade. Is that still on?

    I'll tell you what you don't want to go to bed watching, though. Spongebob. Especially if you're somebody who tends toward really intricate and vivid dreams.

    Anyway, let me get back to you tomorrow or Saturday on your point. You seem to be hinting that Obama is the leader America yearns for. Me, I wonder what the definition of a true leader is. Because as optimistic as I'd like to be, these days I can't see anybody with the potential to unite the country. No matter who it is, at least half the country's going to demonize them.

  11. Here is my issue with excessive investment in real estate. In the end, the house may house someone, but it doesn't produce anything. As our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, it seems like a waste to have our precious capital resources poured into real estate, where only the short-term improvements to that property provide jobs.

    Our tax policies need to direct capital to manufacturing jobs at home, not providing financing for manufacturing jobs in China, or for excessive investment in real estate anywhere.

  12. Thanks Obi Wan - I like that take on it, a different way of looking at it, but perhaps a better reason for the problems than mine.

    D. Sirmize - No problem, I've been out of touch down in St. George. I decided to have a shot at running 26.2 miles for fun - more on that later though.

    I'm interested to see your comments on this when you get some time. My intention in writing it was not at all to endorse or suggest that Obama might be a good leader, although as I posted it, I can definitely see how it could be taken that way. While I know we differ on our opinions of Mr. Obama, I think the fact remains that as an inspirational leader he would probably be the best candidate. Perhaps the question should then be asked, what kind of inspiration does the country need, and which of the candidates would be able to provide it.

    My wife likes to point out that Hitler was an incredible motivational speaker - not that I would compare Hitler to Obama (I think they're polar opposites on most, if not all issues), but just to point out that inspiration needs to guide people in the right direction too.