Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vinegar in your morning cup of coffee

When I was first learning to write essays, our teacher stressed the importance of grabbing your readers' attention early on in your work, like a compelling "lead" to a news story.

Consider columnist Jessie Eisinger's recent piece in the latest edition of Portfolio magazine in which his very first sentence will punish the unwitting reader who is harboring any sense of financial security...

"The worst Wall Street turmoil in a generation is going to wipe every other issue off the table for the next president."

You'll want to read on, but be warned, it gets worse. Eisinger describes potential for so many financial calamities that one might arrive at a conclusion some have long feared, but few vocalize...

"There will be blood."

Whether you hold a Yale PhD in economics or no sheepskin whatsoever, common sense dictates that one can only cop a dangerously free ride for so long. At the end of that ride (and there always is an end) there is an inexorable crash, that brings great pain to the free-rider.

Unfortunately, there will also be pain felt by those who paid for their rides and even wore protective gear (which they also paid cash for), because they are tethered to the free-riders - and that's the real tragedy. That's our system.

We'll pay for the free-riders' avarice, their lack of discipline, their recklessness.