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By: Ken and Adam

As a matter of decorum, we try to refrain from making politics a topic of conversation with clients. But every now and then, politically charged topics demand our acknowledgement. One such topic is the matter of the US Government budget deficit and the long term negative implications it holds for the current and succeeding generations.

This topic is not new to us. Nearly four years ago, Ken attended a conference sponsored by the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce entitled, “The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour”. The keynote speaker was David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States and now President of the non-partisan Comeback America Initiative (http://tcaii.org/). The other conference speakers spanned the ideological spectrum––from liberal to conservative. Despite their political differences, all agreed something needed to be done to address the deficit and debt.

Since that presentation in July 2008, there has been little progress on solving the US budget deficit. If anything, the “Great Recession” and continuing political stalemate in Washington DC have both contributed to exacerbating our country’s ongoing structural deficit problem.

Given the significance of this topic, we feel it is appropriate to revisit the issue so we can all be better informed. We do not take a position on the correct course of action our political leadership should take, but we do believe meaningful action is needed. As such, we encourage you view these two videos and craft your own ideas for solving the problem. The first of these is about one minute long and is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it makes a valid point – National Debt Video. The second video aired on CBS 60 Minutes about five years ago and runs 11 minutes. Despite its age, the content in this video is still very relevant – CBS Video

Moving to another topic, in Ken’s article, “Truth or Consequences”, he references the nascent field of behavioral finance, which explores how investor behavior is affected by individual and/or group psychology. The PBS show, NOVA, aired an excellent piece last year called “Mind Over Money”.  It examined this phenomenon and the role it may have played in the market crash of 2008/2009. We found the NOVA episode fascinating and think you will enjoy it. The video is 53 minutes long, but worthwhile – NOVA Video.

If you have any suggestions for topics of future columns, please drop us a line.

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