My son, Nick, posted an interesting comment on his Facebook page. His take away from last night’s GOP presidential debate was “I love election season…candidates debating about perfect legislation and idealistic politics that will never come into place. Never gets old.”
As a political veteran of 36 years, I’m amazed at the simplicity of his words. I’m also sad that this post reflects the reality of our current political environment.
My son was one of the lucky ones. He graduated in four years, and had a job waiting when he walked off the graduation stage. I believe the foundation of his “luck” was his firm knowledge that opportunity knocks often, but success is not guaranteed. You have to work for success.
As I watch the presidential debates and listen to our leaders in Washington and Harrisburg, it’s not hard to understand why Nick and so many in his generation are cynics. We see the reasons in the community banking industry all the time. Policies instituted to protect against some “threat” (Dodd-Frank WALL Street Reform) that end up blowing up something completely different (Main Street investment). By the time the dust settles, the agitators have moved on to the next issue of the day, and no one takes the time to clean up the mess…and the mess is building exponentially.
Next week, the federal government’s Small Business Lending Fund is set to expire. At the beginning of this month less than $2 billion of a $30 Billion dollar fund was on the street. Whether you agree with the program or not is not as important as the fact that this stands as another botched government program. The rules were slow in coming, the hurdles were too high, and too few banks were able to use a program that was touted as critical to jump starting the US economy.
Younger Americans see their government dragging them further and further into a debt position that is unsustainable. Neither political party has done very much to reverse the damage. Excuses are made, we keep on spending and the American public gets more and more cynical.
Young Nick’s cold assessment of politics holds plenty of instructive truth for all of us. His post is a generational barometer for sure, but it can’t become reality. As Main Street business leaders we must continue to build our communities on sound, commonsense principles. Likewise, we must renew our commitment to celebrating and teaching good citizenship!