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112th Congress Reconciliation

January 13, 2011

The 112th Congress:

“…But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized—at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do—it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds….”

President Obama
Arizona, January 12, 2011

It has been a challenging week for the United States. The tragic events in Arizona find me in prayer with my thoughts to the families of all.

I drafted this observation before these events and will simply continue with the thought, and hope that its truth is only strengthened.  From tragedy, great things can emerge (by way of example, see the attached story on a classmate of mine from Providence College:  http://bit.ly/fkudOT).

With respect to politics, right after the mid-term elections I felt, and continue to feel, this 112th Congress, if they fully recognize it, is at the most meaningful inflection point for perhaps the next generation.  Certainly the challenges that face the U.S. are Herculean—health care, taxation (both corporate and individual), social security and the multiple wars, conflicts and occupations of our military and its pressure on the economic and emotional resources of all of us, and in particular, the families of the brave, courageous and selfless soldiers.

Right after every election cycle I feel a wave of confidence (although more often than not, it leads to disappointment).  This election cycle is no different.  Simply, I am confident that Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and President Obama can work together.  While I don’t know that there will be another relationship like the one between President Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neil, this one has the necessary chemistry and could and should be close.

Speaker Boehner is a well documented emotional individual and he does not run from it—and I hope he does not use it for political gain.  (As an aside, there were at least two entertaining headlines: from the New York Post – “The Weeper of the House”; and from the Wall Street Journal – “In Come the Republicans and Out Comes John Boehner’s Handkerchief”).  I have seen with conviction that emotional individuals, regardless of gender, have a level of compassion, but more often than not, express and work through that compassion in a passive manner and work towards common ground versus planting positions on the extremes.

The next 24-36 months are perhaps the most critical this great nation will face in over a generation and the Administration, led by President Obama, and the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Boehner, will have to embark on the epic issues mentioned above.

While time does not permit, I hope through the grace of your God, this Congress and Administration can constructively focus on these important issues which so greatly affect the people of the United States (and its stature within the global framework), while being sensitive to the fiscal responsibilities of our nation.  And while it can’t yet be eradicated, we must figure out a way to mitigate the influence of money, pork and other favors within our political system, and focus on the necessary and appropriate solutions to these most important issues.  This is the first generation where there is a belief that the next generation will not be better off than the previous one.  That is unacceptable and the time to change that path is now.

With that, I hope as folks enter the weekend, all can engage in conversation with their colleagues, their friends and within their circles of comfort on these issues; but, more importantly, engage in conversation and dialogue with those outside of your colleagues, friends and circles of comfort.  Be open to their ideas, engage in constructive discussion and debate.   Perhaps you will respectively agree to disagree, but I suspect, as I have found, more often than not, something new and enlightening will be learned.  It is these dialogues around neighborhoods, schools, restaurants and, yes, perhaps enjoying a glass or two (or three!) of wine that will manifest itself and permeate the strength for this nation to move forward in a productive, respectful and constructive manner.

For President Obama and Speaker Boehner, perhaps the necessary compromise can be reached while enjoying a cigarette on the White House balcony.

Facebook Endnote:

The capitalist in me needs to acknowledge no matter my observations on Facebook and Goldman Sachs, the Goldman offering was, in IPO terms, effectively over subscribed—so a lot of high net worth clients of Goldman Sachs believe Goldman Sachs having a preferred interest in the first 20% of Facebook’s return is a good trade.

One Comment leave one →
  1. MaryLena Anderegg permalink
    March 25, 2011 10:40 am

    How many accountants now serve in the 112th Congress?

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