I've seen a lot of angry reactions of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the federal government's debt, from blaming Standard & Poor for political motivations to pointing out that Tea Party Republicans had essentially forced S&P's hand.
I don't disagree with the anger. We should be angry! We should be furious at Standard & Poor for turning a blind eye at Wall Street firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns right up until the moment they went under while using fuzzy math now
to predict that the federal government will somehow refuse to honor its debt obligations. And we should be firing the news out to family and friends that the reason our home and student loans might be pricier in the near future is because of Republican refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy
But movements aren't built on waves of resistance and anger alone. Whether it's a girl putting a flower in the barrel of a soldier's gun, or one woman refusing to sit in the back of the bus any longer, great movements that build lasting change depend on the accumulation of millions of small gestures made in the hope that, however naive or futile they may be, there's a better way forward.
Rob Delaney posted this on his blog
over the weekend. He's not a political consultant or policy wonk. He's an average working guy who was upset at S&P for downgrading federal debt. But he thought he'd do something constructive, so he invested some savings in a fund that tracks the Wilshire 5000, the 5000 largest American companies. Literally, he bought some stock in America. He didn't buy Treasury notes, because he figured if the government wanted his money, they could tax it out of the companies he just invested in. It's worth quoting his reasoning in full:
What I am saying is that I believe in me, and I believe in you and I believe in elbow grease, objectivity and history. Did you see the recession coming? Did it announce itself and tell you the date it would arrive? No, it did not. Nor will recovery. So quit whining. Pessimism is for losers.
So to paraphrase Warren Buffet, whose sterling, brick and mortar, brilliantly run, cash-rich company Berkshire Hathaway was ALSO downgraded by S&P in the past, “American stocks are on sale.” Why not pick some up? I did. And I’m a 34 year old, hard working husband and father who gives a sh*t about the country he lives in and doesn’t take orders from S&P, CNN, or Congress. I give them. And so do you.
Whether you think Rob's idea is foolhardy or great, he's right. We as a movement need more positive action and less pessimism and pouting. So let's hear it. What do you think of Rob's idea? What are your outside the box ideas for positive change?