Americans–Let’s Take Responsibility! December 18, 2008

December 18, 2008

It seems the news is full of losses lately, and it also seems there is a spate of fraud (e.g., Bernie Madoff).  Let’s just be careful as honest and responsible citizens to distinguish between losses in which there is appropriately someone else to blame and sue, and those for which no one among our financial service providers has responsibility to reimburse us. It’s our opinion that for the vast majority of us, most of our losses are in the second category. Some seem to think that if they ever told their fund manager, “I really don’t want to suffer principal losses,” that constitutes sufficient obligation on his/her part to have put everything in money market, thus avoiding the catastrophe.

Well, most of us followed any such statements with other statements: “I’d like to get high returns on my money.” Most of us are smart enough to know we need to have written direction to our fund managers, and unless we told them to be 100% fixed income in writing, we’re not clean in terms of ability to blame them for the stock losses.

Just because the losses are huge, doesn’t mean we have to find someone to blame and to make it right for us. Which of us offered to refund to the manager any returns higher than we reasonably expected when things were better than we had hoped?

Come on, Americans, suck it up and realize we’re all responsible for all of this. No one to blame, no one to make it right, and that’s not the kind of country we want, anyway. Let’s get rid of the ambulance chasers in the financial sector–that’ll just run up the cost of service to everyone!

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