Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Never Say "Never" 

If there is one dangerous word to use, especially in turbulent times, it is the word "never" as in "will never happen." The Secretary of the Treasury said that the US will never lose its high credit rating, but really, how does he know, especially with deficits facing the country for years to come? His statement is filled with hubris, as if he can personally guarantee that the country will remain a strong credit. Of course, he can't. It is understandable that he wants to project a sense of calm and control to a reeling country, but there are ways of doing that without making promises one cannot keep. "Never" is a word that should be banished in a recession. It wasn't that long ago we thought General Motors would never fail, that Toyota would never come under pressure, that banks would never become wards of the government, that housing prices would never plunge to where they are today. We know when a financial system is under strain, the impossible becomes possible and the unthinkable happens.


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