The Financial Crisis Results From Unregulated Capitalist Greed

This past weekend while most of us were asleep, at church or simply trying to enjoy ourselves, the Bush administration concocted the greatest government intervention in the financial markets since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Basically, the plan will stem the credit crisis which was threatening to bring about the collapse of Wall Street and financial markets around the world.

However, when all is said and done, the hard, cold fact is that you – the average American taxpayer – will have a near trillion (and possibly more) dollars of debt added to your financial plate. Indeed, the bailout of giant, private corporations with taxpayers’ money is so massive that you, your children and your grand children will be working to pay it off for years to come.

Basically, what the geniuses in the Bush administration plan to do is spend hundreds of billions of dollars of our money to buy up bad mortgages and other so-called “toxic debt.” Being relieved of these debts will enable the giant financial institutions to get back to business as usual with few bad debts and billions of dollars of our money to spend.

News of what the government was planning leaked out last Thursday afternoon. The combined rise of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday and Friday came to better that 700 points. The rich and the powerful were giddy with joy. And would not you be happy if you were facing a financial crisis and the government stepped in and paid off most of your debts with somebody else’s money.

And that is exactly what the plan does. It will use your tax money to rescue a financial system which put itself into crisis by making a host of bad, even stupid, investment decisions

Unfortunately, the trillion-dollar bailout plan will only work for a while because it ignores a basic contradiction of capitalism – the so-called free enterprise market economy. That contradiction is simply the following: Overtime a capitalist economy, by its very competitive nature, tends to concentrate more and more of society’s wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. The rich get richer; the poor get poorer and the middle class gets smaller.

There are only two things which can slow down this process: 1) A government which properly regulates big business so that it does not overly exploit workers and consumers; and 2) Strong labor unions which can work to insure that the workers get a fair share of the wealth being produced by their labor.

But in America today, big government is in bed with big business working actively to reduce or eliminate the regulations put in place after the Great Depression of 1929. For example, when the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1998, banks and other financial institutions were basically allowed to run wild creating investment instruments which made little or no sense. There was less and less true investing and more and more speculating – a Wall Street euphemism which means something very close to gambling – because the super rich had money to play with.

Meanwhile, there was an economic expansion during the years of the Bush administration in which 90 percent of the money generated went to the already rich. This is even though worker productivity increased. This means people either worked harder or produced more for less pay. But they did not benefit; only the rich did.

Finally, labor unions in America today are at their weakest since World War II. Their ability to guarantee increased wages is virtually gone.

As a result, the rich get richer. Their investments banks, brokerage firms and other financial institutions had so much money that they began to invest in speculative (gambling) ways. And that is why the nation is in the mess it is in today – the super rich had too much money (a lot of it borrowed) and got real stupid with it.

We need progressive government regulation of big business and strong unions to protect the working classes. America’s basic economic problem is that the rich are too rich and are thus prone to speculate and gamble with their money. The second biggest problem is that when the rich get in trouble through greedy speculation, we have politicians who bail them out with our money.

Do You Need A Financial Planner?

At some point in your life, you are going to start thinking seriously about financial planning. When you do, the question of whether you need professional help should come to mind.

It happens to everyone. Something comes up that makes you realize you need to get a financial plan. The event can be something as benign as making good money one year and nearly fainting when you get the tax bill. For many people, it is the birth of a child. Suddenly, you are no longer responsible just for yourself. You have a much more important responsibility for the welfare of your child. Somewhere, you dad is snickering!

Whatever the triggering event, the realization you need to do some financial planning is a good thing. The sooner you do it, the more benefit you will receive. Most financial planning is time sensitive. The longer it is in place, the bigger impact it will have. For instance, the sooner you start stuffing money into retirement plans, the more time it will have to grow before you need it. The same goes for sticking money into a college savings plan.

Once you decide to do financial planning, you should really get some professional help. Jumping into financial planning without it can lead to some serious mistakes. If you need a financial planner, however, how do you find a quality professional?

The first step is to ask around to friends and families. Don’t just look for any old referral. You want somebody they are enthusiastic about. If they have a ho hum opinion of their planner, that should be a bad sign. At this point, your best option is to jump on the net and look for planners in your area. Pay close attention to what is on their site. Do they offer a lot of free information? If so, does it carry the tone that you are comfortable with? Pick out three or four and set up appointments. It is time for the face-to-face.

When you meet with a prospective financial planner, there are a number of things to look for. First, how aggressive are they with you. Keep a nose out for the smell of desperation. Quality financial planners already have a sold portfolio of clients. As a result, they are more than happy to sit and calmly talk with you regarding your situation. A person that is promising incredible results or very aggressive, is a planner that probably is not what you are after.

When discussing your situation with the planner, pay attention to the questions they ask. Are they trying to get a full picture of your life or just trying to sell you something? A quality financial planner is not looking at you as a client now. Instead, they are looking for a long-term relationship. If you are uncomfortable in any way with the person in question, move on to the next planner on your list.