About two weeks ago, I underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, remove several bone spurs, and trim the bursa. Four incisions and two weeks later, I find the post-op pain is far more intense than any pain I experienced prior to the surgery. Had I known this in advance would I have followed through with the surgery? Probably so. You see, I had to decide between a temporary increase in the level of pain, or a fully functioning shoulder. I chose the latter.
The same principle applies to our ailing economy. Ultimately, we will have to endure an increase in pain before our economy improves. However, try telling that to the government officials who seem to be more interested in their re-election campaign than the health of this great nation. For example, why does the government continue to "prop up" our economy with programs that have had limited benefits? What we really need is a long-term, structural solution. But what we're getting is a short-term patch.
I believe there will come a time when the so-called 'best efforts' of Washington will be seen for what they are; more political than pragmatic. Until then, I suppose we'll just have to sit back and watch as more costly programs are enacted and "We, the people" are left with the tab. Care to dump some tea into the harbor, anyone?
The proper approach in problem solving begins with a correct identification of the cause. Until this is completed, any solutions are like trying to hit a bulls eye while blindfolded. Bystanders take cover!
In the October issue of Investment Advisor magazine, I'll be discussing the probability of the United States entering into a double-dip recession. The sequel can be found in the November issue. There, I'll do exactly what I'd like to do right now, but unfortunately have neither the time nor space. I'll identify the specific problems with our economy and discuss precisely what needs to be done to put America back on the right track. I promise it will be an educational read.
Until then, I remain cautious with respect to stocks, unimpressed with respect to bonds, and cash, well, not much I can say about that. There are however some interesting opportunities with alternative investments. Send me an email and I'll send you my best ideas.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Mike Patton, CFP, AEP, is founder and president of Integrity Wealth Management, an RIA firm in Baton Rouge, La.