Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." That view from one of our iReporters underscores America's economic crisis. This morning, we're hearing what Main Street thinks of the president's recovery plan. And we're talking with some of the sharpest economic minds in the country about what it means to you and your financial future.Economist Diane Swonk joins us this morning from Chicago, and here in New York investment adviser Ryan Mack and Jacki Zehner, founding partner of the Circle Financial Group.We welcome you, Jacki, for the very first time.JACKI ZEHNER, FOUNDING PARTNER, CIRCLE FINANCIAL GROUP:
ROBERTS: Let's go to you, first. And let me preface this by highlighting here a comment that was sent in to us by a viewer. Dave in Omaha, Nebraska, writes to us this morning and says, "Although the meat of the speech was very hopeful, I felt it was more like a pep rally. The only thing missing was the band and the cheerleaders. I still want to know how we will pay off this debt, how is this administration putting people back to work, and why do I have to help someone pay -- why do I have to help pay else's mortgage? I feel this was not addressed."These are questions, Jacki, a lot of people are asking today.
ZEHNER: Those are really good questions. I actually think Nancy Pelosi was their cheerleading. I think all that was missing were the pompoms. But those are all my questions. It was a pep ralley. I like talking about hope and possibility, and I think the world needed that message and the markets so far are responding. He said, I'm in control. I'm going to do something, but what's the something?And actually, I thought he missed a big opportunity to talk about investing in America and a broader basis than just talking about Wall Street and the negatives of Wall Street. I think there's a much broader conversation that we can have about small business, about female entrepreneurship, about financial literacy, about a broad-based conversation about investment. And that was really missing.
ROBERTS: What do you think about all of that, Diane, because typically these addresses whether they be just to a joint session of Congress or whether they be actually titled a State of the Union Address, which is next one will be, are usually about grand themes and broad brush strokes. The details come later.
DIANE SWONK, ECONOMIST: Exactly. I think actually what impressed me was the one-two punch. Ben Bernanke was on his "A" game yesterday. And he really dealt with a lot of these issues earlier in the day in great detail. It was actually one of the most insightful, which doesn't say a lot.Q&A sessions that Congress has ever had with Ben Bernanke. But these senators actually finally got it. And I think that laid the groundwork. One of the comments that Ben Bernanke gave in response to that very issue on foreclosures, he said, you know, you could punish your next-door neighbor for smoking in bed by, you know, not calling the fire department when his home caught on fire, but if it burned down the whole neighborhood, how much does it help you?And I think that analogy is very important. And that's what the president has got to bring, is that analogy that we're on the same boat, and unless we're all in the same boat with our oars in the water rowing towards the same destination, we're all going to sink the boat.
ROBERTS: Ryan, let's turn this one toward you. Carolina, in *, Florida writes this this morning and says, quote, "After Obama's speech, I feel confident that he will bring us out of this economic mess. I was happy to hear some positive comments rather than all the doom and gloom that the American people are constantly being bombarded with. Thank God we have a new administration."Was it an appropriate amount of optimism that the president exceeded last night?
RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: I think it was great optimism. I think that his direction was very -- very optimistic and very happy about what tomorrow actually holds.One of the striking things he said, we are also suffering a deficit of trust. I think that in previous administrations, a lot of individuals had lost trust with an administration, so that actually leads to a lack of confidence in the leadership of this country. And him coming in and actually going back and talking about things about the GI bill, sent a generation of college students made the largest middle-class in history.So I want to have by 20-20 had the highest proportion of college graduates in this country. But then the devil is in the details. I'm going to put $31 billion in college affordability and Pell Grants and tax credits to make sure that individuals are going to school. And he also said, you know, enough of this not graduating from high school, you know? It's on you. We have to graduate from high school and make sure we're getting our...(CROSSTALK)
ROBERTS: That's an interesting part of the speech. But, Jacki, just in terms of this optimism, just saying it doesn't necessarily make it so. He's got a lot of work to do to actually get these programs into practice.
ZEHNER: Absolutely. But we also have a lot of work to do too. I love the messages about personal responsibility because at the end of the day, and this is my favorite quote, which I repeat again and again, "do what you can with what you have where you are". I think he has to empower people to be part of the solution, not wait for government to solve all our problems because they can't. And he said that, but I really wanted the exclamation marks behind that. I really did, because those are the conversations I'm having. People need to get together, share their problems, share solutions.Ryan and I spoke a lot about financial literacy, doing financial preparedness. You cannot have your head in the sand about this anymore. It's not going to get better overnight, but it is about people coming together, talking through problems, offering each other solutions, supporting one another in business, helping out. You can't -- we can't -- walk around like this( hands up and open) waiting for this the government hand-outs. It's just not going to happen. There's not enough money and we're selling our children's future.
Jacki, thanks for joining us this morning.ZEHNER: Thank you.ROBERTS: Great to have you here for the first time.ZEHNER: Thank you.ROBERTS: We'll get you back as well as Ryan.ZEHNER: Thank you. Thank you very much.
I am about to jump in a car to head to CNN in New York City to participate in a panel discussion on "American Morning!" Thanks to the Womens Media Center for creating this opportunity for me! I will be on sometime between 8 and 9 am. The panel will discuss last night's Presidential Address and I am beyond honored to be a part of this important debate.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This weekend I was stopped in my tracks when I read this piece, The Invisible War, by Bob Herbert in the New York Times. We have heard these stories about rape and torture of innocent women and children but have we truly paid attention to them? Even if we do pay attention, what do we do with that? We have to do something. We have to. We just have to. This has to end. Violence against women and children has to end. Read it.
Ok now what you ask? Here is a list.
1) Write a letter to the New York Times and Bob Herbert thanking them for bringing awareness to this ongoing tragedy and ask them to do more. Write lots of letters.
Thanks for reading and thank you for being a person who cares.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
The why is well summarize by a question asked by Robert Zoelick, the World Bank President, in Thursdays FT – “What started as a financial crisis, become an economic crisis, is now becoming an unemployment crisis – and to what degree does it become a human and social crisis?”
I cannot help but reflect back to when I started blogging at the beginning of last year BECAUSE I felt we were entering a historic period for the US and global financial markets and I needed a way to share my opinions and more. At this moment I am just so angry. I am angry because of how long the ‘powers that be’ denied that there were any real problems to worry about. I am angry because at the time the government’s solutions to what few problems they acknowledged were to suggest we should just keep shopping. I am angry about years and years of people (including me ) just failing to do the right ( and often difficult) things. I have been an unwavering bear, A Mrs. Doom to Nouriel Roubini’s Dr. Doom, and yet at this moment I feel I did not do enough to help protect others and be part of the solution.
This is not about the level of the stock market. This is about who we are as people. This is about how we view ourselves, our role's in society and our obligation or lack thereof to care about the common good and take personal responsibility to do our best to keep our world, as well as our own life, on a positive trajectory.
Why I am being so self-reflective early this morning? Because in a few hours I have to speak to a roomful of incredible business leaders about these issues. About corporate ethics. Though I am long since a partner of Goldman Sachs where I had the huge personal responsibility to be a culture driver and carrier I am still that everywhere I go. For 14 years my space was primarily GS, and now it is other spaces and places but the obligation remains the same. As a leader, as a citizen of this planet, I feel strongly that I have an obligation to serve the common good and not just what is good for me. At the heart of it I think that is what is wrong with America, perhaps the world.
I need to add a few articles that I have clipped over the past couple of days mainly because I love saving them in a place where I can easily access them again down the line. If you are not yet a subscriber to Naked Capitalism I would highly suggest it… everyday some of the best business writings from multiple sources are collected and sent to you in one email… love it and thanks.
“Synchronized Boom, Synchronized Bust” by Marc Faber – Mark manages money and I follow is thinking in Barrons. He was featured in this year’s roundtable and I agreed with most of what he had to say. This article walks through the financial meltdown in easy in a very straightforward way.
“There is Virtue in Geithners Vague Bank Plan” by Nouriel Roubini and Matthew Richardson– basically argues that the many US banks will be nationalized.
From the FT
Monday, February 16, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The stimulus package. I know we must spend money to help the tumbling economy, and actually I just heard over my shoulder on CNN President Obama say ‘it is only the government that can break the cycle” of this downward spirally economy, but I am deeply worried about how wasteful this package has the potential to be. We are spending our future. Let’s be clear about this. We are borrowing from tomorrow, from future revenues, to try to make things better today. There is no free lunch.
Bridgewater. For a rare, thoughtful, insightful and relevant interview with one of the smartest investment minds out there, click here. Ray Dalio, the CIO of Bridgewater Associates, in the piece “Recession? NO, It’s a D-process, and It Will Be Long” he shares why this time it is different, and why not to expect a quick and easy recovery no matter what the government does. At the end of the day the ‘government is going to print money.” He suggests that this has to end in currency devaluation, which is not in this case a bad thing. He is positive on gold, the yen, and ends with this. “Buying equities and taking on those risks in late 2009, or more likely 2010, will be a great move because equities will b e much cheaper than now. It is going to be the buying opportunity of the century.”
I am saving the best for last. I cannot begin to tell you how many people forwarded me this piece by Nicolas Kristof (pictured) called “Mistresses of the Universe.” You go Nic!!!! I could not agree more. Of note is that together with the National Council for Research on Women we are about to release a paper on exactly this topic!!! This has been a three year project and we are beyond excited about it. The question we asked? Why are there not more women in professional trading and portfolio management roles? We can stretch that even further and ask why is that women do not more equally share in power and decision making? If you are a regular reader you KNOW that I completely believe that we need a world where women and men more equally share in power. So much so that last night I actually dreamt about it. In my sleep I was asking myself this question. Why is it NOW that women are going claim their space as leaders and decision makers? Why now? In the middle of the night I woke up, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote this – “Because we are ready. We are ready.” I swear with my hand on the hotel bible that this happened. I know it, in my bones, that women are ready to be part of the solution. Women are ready to be major players in this world, to work collectively with good men to make this world a better place. How do we do this? “By doing what we can, with what we have, where we are” ….. then doing more. At the end of the day however it is about women being in places we need to be in critical mass. It is only then that we will know what women’s leadership and women’s led solutions look like. Thank you Nicholas for all your brilliant writing on topics that deeply matter to me.
This may be my last post for a few days and there are so many things I want to write I think my head is going to explode. I am going to spend some quality time with my 8 year old daughter Allie and then attend the Womens Funding Network board meeting here....
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
"So much has to change in order for ours to be a more just and equitable world, and that change must occur in all levels of society for it to be sustainable. This theory of change is well summarized in the work of the Women's Funding Network which argues that "a bottom up belief that the whole community cannot be improved or changed without the full participation of women and girls and the full participation of women and girls cannot be achieved without bringing women and girls from the margins in to the mainstream."
We can talk about new appointments and new administrations, but it is in valuing men and women, boys and girls equally and in enabling their full participation in society, that we will set the course for the positive change we need to see in our families and our public and private institutions.
In Washington, as we witness this changing of the guard and hope that better decisions will be made, let us drive change elsewhere, in all realms of our society, from where we each stand. Where leadership is not diverse, strive it make it so. Where the culture is toxic, commit to changing it. Where talent is being underutilized, develop programs to change that. The solutions are there but what is missing, often, is the will, the commitment, to see such change through. What is missing is the equitable participation of women as solutions are being enacted. This is the message I delivered yesterday to over 200 women and if you can pull together a group of 200 interested men, call me, and I will deliver the message to them too. This is a world view when good men and good men both win. Do you see a broken world? If yes, then begin to see the world differently and then move forward to make the world different. Invest in women and girls. The time for real change is now."
It is so NOW....