You can boil it all down to one single word…….

Morning folks!!

When you look at where we are economically you can boil it all down to one
single word. One single pointed word. The hardest thing I have ever had to try
and figure out is this economy or lack of one right now. But after a lot of
consideration last summer I figured it out. The lynch pin in all this. The
word......Confidence. There is no confidence in the housing markets. There is
no confidence in the banking system. There is no confidence in lending. There is
no confidence on Wall Street. There is no confidence in the CEO's that are
raping their companies for personal gain. There is no confidence in the
automobile industry. There is no confidence in our government to solve the
problem. There is no confidence in the people that hold positions of trust. So
they can throw trillions at the problem but if confidence is not restored it
will be for nothing. There is not enough money in the universe to cover the
deposits in the banks. The only thing between us and the abyss is confidence. We
should be thankful that most of us are kind of passive. But if the truth be
known I would expect things could quickly unravel.

During the summer I said nothing as I withdrew my money from Wachovia. How
could I say out loud what I thought was about to happen? So day after day I quietly ran
around opening up new bank accounts. That was when I was worried about just one
bank. That was when I still had confidence in the banking system now it was just
picking which ones would collapse. Washington Mutual was an easy one to pick and
that could be said out loud. But Wachovia??? The bank I chose to do business
with for the last 20 years? The one with all my business and personal accounts?
The one people would know I lost my mind if I said out loud? Yup that one. So
for an entire week I ran around opening accounts at every bank I could find plus
some Internet based banks. After that waste of good time they finally raised the
insurance from $100k to $250k and also announced there was not enough money in
the FDIC to pay the claims should there be a massive default. That took my
confidence and lowered it by a few points.

So here we are. First National Mattress is open for business. Confidence in
the banking system is going to get worse before it gets better. Nobody can
predict how things can manifest themselves in crisis. So far, calm is still the
norm. That could change on a dime. We are vulnerable not because of anything we
have done wrong. We are vulnerable because there is no confidence nor should
there be.

Oh, did I mention the #1 reason for lack of confidence and why nothing can
work? Until the crooks are removed it is like trying to make a boat run faster
without addressing any of the holes and leaks where all the water is coming in and
preventing it from going any faster! These crooks need to be removed and paraded
in handcuffs. The perp walk in front of the world. The corruption and abuse is
the single biggest factor and one I have yet to see addressed whatsoever. Oh
yeah, they got Martha Stewart. Save the day!

Let me cut to the chase. I have no confidence that they can restore
confidence before the confidence crumbles. That may be the only thing I am
confident of. You can't put a happy face on this. Each day I wake up and the set
of circumstances and confidence level is a little lower than the day before.
There have been several pops and false starts and there may be several more. But
until confidence returns, and you need a REASON for that to happen, we are still
headed into the dark. Add to that we have yet to see the fallout and manifestation of all the layoffs and store closings of the last 90 days. That tsunami is heading to a town near you in the months to come. It is going to change the look of every Main St. and Mall in the country.

If governments make a bad decision with the policies they are debating
they can make things much worse. They can put us all in jeopardy. Especially if
those making decisions are corrupt themselves. Like the U.S. Congress for example.
I have no confidence in them because if you or I did what half of them did we
would be in jail. The ones trusted to solve the problem are the same corrupt public servants that
got us into this mess and then folks are supposed to have confidence? Sorry,
my confidence level is running on fumes and I doubt I am alone. This economic plane is out of control. The only guy I trust right now is 'Sully' Sullenberger. Let's put him in charge. I am confident that he alone could do the job of restoring confidence.

Have a GREAT day!

Rick Schwartz