under new management

Breakfast with Barack


The rumor is that we’ll be under new management later today – and by us, I mean the USA.
I’m sure, like most people, I’ll be watching breathlessly as Joe Biden becomes the first vice-president from Delaware.  It should be a historic moment.  Something else might be happening with the presidency, too.

I suffered from a bad service outage with my hosting provider over the weekend and I spent a lot of time worrying about that rather than writing posts. This is to be expected – I wonder if I have any natural inclination to write if I let something like that distract me, but so be it.  I’m sorry about the interruption, though.

I’ve lost something like 50% of my net value over the last year or so. It’s not a pleasant thought.  It makes you feel like an idiot.  I used to be angry that a relative of mine spent a ton of money on a nice gold watch rather than “saving” his money by investing, but you know what?  I’ve got 50% depreciated stocks, and he has a nice gold watch.  I know that the conventional wisdom was to save, save, invest, invest, but the recent downturn has taught us if you fail, you win (AIG) and if you keep hammering away at a losing proposition, you lose (GM).  I don’t know what the calculation is, but I’m sure it’s going to take me a decade or more of 10% returns to get back to where my net worth was in 2007.  It’s not a pleasant thought for an-almost-forty-year-old, much less someone who is nearing retirement.

Maybe everything will be different now. If rhetoric is matched by action, it will be.  If stasis rules (which I expect), nothing will change.  But in any case we can all be comforted by one thought (forgive me for a moment of weepy patriotism):  today, we’ll see the latest beautiful moment in the experiment that seemed like a radical, impossible dream 232 years ago… the idea that a nation could have an election and peacefully move from one ideology to another with nothing more than a burst of confetti and a few speeches.  I was amazed when it happened in 2000, and 1992, and 1980, and 1976… as far back as I remember.  People who hated (let’s be honest) what the incoming resident of the White House stood for, politically, calmly stepped aside and allowed them to take the reigns of power.

So let’s hope the new management can right our economy and our military and our environment and…a million other things. It’s a long list and doubtless many of these items won’t be addressed in four years, or eight.  But as an American I’m as hopeful as I’ve been in a while, and whether that hope is warranted or not I don’t want it to be disappointed.  Good luck, President Obama.  You’re going to need it.  I hope you get it – for your sake, for ours, for mine.  For everyone.

photo credit: jurvetson