How Dare You!

Writing in the 23 November issue of Fortune, Geoff Colvin let slip a phrase that made me physically ill. Namely, "in the waning days of this recession ..."

How dare you!

Yes, it does look like Goldman's bonuses, and those of many or most of their I-bank pals, will rebound—perhaps to more than 100% of the pre-catastrophe levels. And, given their vaccination queue-jumping, we can expect that the Goldmanites will not have to miss Turkey Day because of the distraction of fever or swine flu aches and pains.

But there are "a few," perhaps unaware of the recession's "waning days," who, along with their families, are not approaching the holiday season with unmitigated self-satisfaction at the gains made since Turkey Day 2008.

Unemployment stats are awful.
And they will surely get worse.
The "jobs recovery" will doubtless take five years—or more.

Underemployment is widespread literally beyond measure.
There are hours cutbacks, in many or most cases severe.
And pay grade reductions.
And employment temporarily saved by accepting slots three or four steps down the ladder.

Expectations have been truncated.
Pensions have been severed, sometimes months from planned retirement.
House payments are in arrears.
Foreclosures still loom by the million.
Home equity, the mainstay of the American nest-egg, has evaporated, and will not fully rebound even in the next eight or ten years.

And on.
And on.
(And on.)

I agree that it appears that the crisis of potential total-system meltdown that loomed at the edge of Thanksgiving Week 2008 seems to have been evaded. And I, while clipping a clothespin to the end of my nose, was among those who saw the massive financial sector bailouts as an absolute necessity. In fact, overall, and despite the horrifying deficit run up, I believe that the policy makers deserve a solid "B" grade for efforts during the last 13 months.

Nonetheless, millions upon millions upon more millions of my fellow Americans will approach Thanksgiving and Christmas not only traumatized, but with little light at the end of the tunnel.

I wish them well.
And I offer them my humble prayers.

They surely do not need or deserve a self-appointed grandee at Fortune gleefully pontificating about the return of business as usual following our little rough patch.

How dare you, Mr. Colvin!

Tom Peters posted this on November 23, 2009, in News.
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