H. Brandt Ayers: It's time to push aside the lack of trust
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The continent-sized engine of American enterprise is not only tanked up and ready to go, it is taking on more cheap fuel, but nobody will turn the ignition key that gets us on the road to a full recovery.

Corporations are now sitting on a $1.6 trillion mountain of cash, but they’re doing nothing with it except filling their treasuries with even more cash borrowed at ridiculously low interest rates.

So why aren’t they building factories, making things, hiring workers?

There is uncertainty about the economy and about the intentions of the Obama administration; there’s a clash of competing interests and a level of actual malice toward the incumbent and his policies.

A lack of trust between business and government is a destructive climate for the economy — for national security — and urgently needs addressing. A solution to this crisis of confidence may lie in the experience of a state government.

But before posing a bold remedy to the uncertainty and distrust that is stymieing the economy, frustrating and angering victims of the recession, it would be useful to remind ourselves how we got in this mess.

Real estate companies and banks financed developments, condos and houses to people who couldn’t afford them; Wall Street bought up worthless mortgages and packed them into bonds that were ticking economic bombs.

Financial geniuses in investment houses on The Street made billions selling these bombs all over the world. Goldman Sachs even made a bundle betting that the ticking bombs it had sold would explode.

Bush administration regulatory agencies, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, looked upon this trade in worthless paper with an air of “they will regulate themselves, after all, they’re financial geniuses.”

When the orgy of private greed and government nonchalance finally exploded, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson with bipartisan support from presidential candidate Obama poured billions into the banks to avert a panic of citizens mobbing failed banks.

Big banks quickly recovered and paid back the government loans, but the Great Recession left millions jobless and everybody nervous and distrustful; banks nervous about lending, corporations nervous about spending, Wall Street resentful of Obama reforms – everybody on edge.

Edginess was on display at a recent town meeting where the president had to deny he was anti-business, asserting “government can’t create the majority of jobs … In fact, we want to get out of the way of folks who have a great idea and (let them) run with it.”

A hedge-fund manager speaking as a representative of “the Wall Street community” told him: “We have felt like a pinata. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re whacking us with a stick, but we certainly feel like we’ve been whacked with a stick.”

Obama pushed back. “I think most folks on Main Street feel like they got beat up on … There is a big chunk of the country that thinks I have been too soft on Wall Street. That’s probably the majority, not the minority.”

Understandable anger and anxiety has found a vehicle in the Tea Party movement, which is being financed by a cluster of billionaires who want Republicans in office to keep regulations lax and taxes on their fortunes low.

Relations between government and corporations in North Carolina were kept at a high level of bipartisan trust and benefit to the state by a formal structure that I am informed has now evolved into an informal relationship.

Under the past, more-formalized architecture, the top two dozen corporate CEOs in the state met quarterly with the governor and his top economic staff to plan not what the state could do for Duke Power or Wachovia Bank, but what those corporations could do for North Carolina.

Corporate Carolina could build support among the business community for beneficial programs, provide services such as research, and give advice and support for financing needed programs in an atmosphere of mutual trust.

Using that model, the Obama administration could launch a bold initiative, first pairing top CEOs with governors and top research universities on a regional scale leading to a national consensus on how to jump-start the economy now and how to position the nation to maintain our future economic superiority.

There is nothing more patriotically thrilling than feeling a nation, region by region, flexing its economic muscle, concentrating its mind, will and spirit to solve a national problem and insure America’s global leadership.

Such a bold enterprise following the midterm elections would drain poison from excessive partisanship, build a climate of trust and give the economy the command NASCAR fans thrill to hear: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

H. Brandt Ayers is chairman of Consolidated Publishing and publisher of The Anniston Star.
comments (2)
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Thursday, Oct 14 at 08:54 PM »
United States companies are hoarding 1.8 trillion in cash. They are finally dipping into those reserves. However, only to buy back their own stock to prop up their share prices & pad their bonuses. Banks are even worse. The FR, since 12/08 has been lending loads of money at almost no interest to help stimulate lending. But, they aren't lending that money! They are using it to inflate their cash reserves. From $20 billion in 07 to $1 trillion today. Makes you wonder if we need to start taxing that!!! I bet that would stimulate lending!

« rjack112 wrote on Thursday, Oct 14 at 08:20 PM »
"Corporations are now sitting on a $1.6 trillion mountain of cash, but they’re doing nothing with it except filling their treasuries with even more cash borrowed at ridiculously low interest rates.

So why aren’t they building factories, making things, hiring workers?"

Because they're waiting to see how much Obama's socialist policies are going to cost them. Obamacare is going to cost them millions, if not billions, the imminent tax hike is going to take a big chunk out of the "mountain of cash" they're supposedly sitting on. They can't hire anyone because they don't know if they can afford it.

This is just more liberal "evil rich" wealth envy crap from Alabama's most loyal Obama Zombie.