Trying to go with the flow. Things at the bank are intensely busy as we work to grow the bank's balance sheet, control expenses, and generate a fair rate of return for shareholders, all the while focused on delivering fair value to our client base. Every day, every week and every month amounts to a new stack of business problems waiting to be solved! I often remind myself, and anyone else who will listen, that solving problems is really what business is about. We either solve problems for our customers by helping them to optimize their financial lives, or we solve problems internally that affect our operations, efficiency, and of course our team of dedicated bankers.
Anyone in business who complains about problems is really missing the point, I think. It is our ability to get things done and effectuate positive change each day that makes what we do valuable and therefore warrants a profit. Reminding myself about this truth is therapeutic. Keeping our entire business in the flow of client service and problem solving, and doing all of this in a positive and joyful way is really at the heart of our culture.
However, when I think about what our elected officials are doing in Washington DC, I become extremely discouraged. Experience teaches me that nothing is ever as good or as bad as it first appears, and probably when we look back on the budget mess of 2012/2013, we may see it in the context of history and not judge it so harshly. But as of today, it would be impossible for me to be more disappointed. I see extremist political ideology on both sides of the aisle interfering with common sense, compromise, and collegiality. I am of the opinion that most people in America do not favor radicalism in government, and rather favor pragmatism. They want solutions that benefit everyone to some extent and that do not bankrupt future generations.
Maybe that is a lot to ask, but I don't think it's impossible to achieve. Personally, I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to express our preferences to our elected officials, to insist that practical solutions to these budget difficulties be reached immediately, solutions that take into account fairness, equality, but that also reward those individuals and corporations that create new and better ways to do things, and take the risks associated with business.
There has to be a middle ground.