There are two reasons we are in a recession. Yes, I know, it’s a global problem, complex, credit collapse, housing issues, blah blah blah. Smoke screen. There are two reasons.

Reason one. Our country has been in serious ethical decline since Nixon. Johnson had his quirks but he wasn’t a blatant crook. Nixon was. Most of our corporations are run by greedy, crooked and incompetent CEOs. Yes, most. If you don’t believe that, let’s eliminate food inspections, drug testing, safety regulations and unions. We’ll save a bundle. And workers will get screwed. Medications will kill us, food will make us sick and product failures will cause millions of deaths. Deregulate everything and watch wealth concentrate to a few out of greed.

Consider the daily scandals uncovered in government. Start at the top. Bush faked the data to get us into Iraq. We know that now. More than 3,000 or your sons and daughters have died because of that lie. Thousands of civilians have died because of that lie. Thousands are permanently wounded because of that lie. You have wasted over one trillion dollars because of that lie. Hey, conservatives, we’re going to win though, right? I’ve yet to hear an idiot like Sarah Palin define what a “win” in Iraq will look like. If you ever hear the definition of victory in Iraq, would you let me know? And please take a minute to ask yourself if it’s actually possible when you hear their definition. Peace and harmony in the middle east? Do you really believe that is possible?

The collapse of ethics goes all the way down to the lowliest position in the tiniest hamlet. We’ve got it here. You’ve got it wherever you are. There are people in your local government who are not acting in your best interest because they have no ethical standard, no integrity. They may be tapping the till or just not doing the work. But you’ve got them. And, you will re-elect them. Most members of congress coudn’t pass a basic civics class. (I missed one)  They are there for themselves, not for you. But you will re-elect them.

Reason two is totally incompetent management of most major corporations and lazy boards of directors. As long as money rolls in, costs are cut, things are good. The slightest bump in the road and they are completely unable to drive. This comes from always being chauffered. They don’t know how to drive. The worker bees make all the honey and the banks supply the pollen. Sorry for the mixed metaphor but you get the idea.

What do Ford, GM and Chryler want to save their companies? New ideas? Sales of cars? Money to fund car loans? New designs? Nope. They want cash. By golly, we can’t make it without cash.

I’ve had my cycles. Some serious. Money is not the problem. I needed to respond to the market place and develop something new to offer. Money buys time but money wastes time. Ford’s CEO is going to work for a dollar per year. Ford would be better off paying $10 million per year for someone capable of actually running the company. I would NOT help any of the “big 3” for $1. I’d produce results and they’d pay for those results. This $1 bit is stupid, uncreative. Boring.

Ford, GM, Chrysler COULD sell cars and get the cash flowing NOW. It’s possible. It’s actually quite within reach. And they could start an entire turnaround of the national economy.  Easy? No. Within reach? You bet.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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