n a rural Wisconsin town, drivers traveling along Highway 41 rarely catch a whole lot of amazing sights, but in recent days, they have been treated to an oddity. A billboard overlooking the stretch of road carries a very clear message. In bold, red letters, it begins with “IMPEACH OBAMA”, and that is followed by “America’s Small Businesses Are Failing. Help Us Spread the Message.” Indeed, this billboard, which was sponsored by a local enterprise from that community, has attracted national attention and even stirred a bit of controversy, but it does not stand alone in its uniqueness. Just last night, in fact, I had the pleasure of seeing a bumper sticker that seemed to suggest the same thing. It read, quite directly, “Impeach Obama: Yes We Can.”
Judging from the likes of these messages, there is little doubt that people are angry about current conditions in the country, as well as about the general direction we’re heading. And that anger may have good reason to exist. Unfortunately, directing that anger to such a point where some call for the removal of the President from office just might be a futile exercise.
Yes, it is true that American businesses, and particularly American small businesses, are hurting. So many, in fact, have had to scale back or shut down in the face of dwindling sales revenue. But why is this, really? Well, in fairness, the current credit crisis is perhaps the major culprit in most small business failures since the onset of the Great Recession. Also, the lack of general public confidence that constrains consumer spending is definitely another reason that follows fast. Neither of these factors, though, can be directly pinned on POTUS. But that is not to say that he will not bare some blame in the months and years to come.
s we all know, the quake in credit markets rippled into the marketplace. Consumers watched helplessly as the costs of capital went nuts, or as their credit lines vanished, because their lenders had to reckon with portfolios of loans that weren't performing. The problems started in the mortgage market--but that isn't where the problems end. In fact, while large lenders are looking over their shoulders at government and corporate debt, many believe that small banks are about to face the next wave of upheaval, because some $120 or $140 billion of $1.1 trillion of commercial-property loans are "impaired". This is particularly noteworthy, because small lenders are the ones typically churning out SBA loans and LOCs for many small enterprises.
OTUS has a big problem. He sailed to victory on a wave of public anxiety following the September 2008 shakeup in the financial markets. The first trouble for him, though, was that an economic crisis had never been part of his agenda.
Gary C. Harrell
Founder & Managing Principal
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Should We Impeach POTUS? (revised missive)
Posted by Gary C. Harrell