From routine check-ups to subsidized gym memberships to diet counseling and more, the practice of preventative care has reshaped the way we think about and spend money on staying healthy. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, the overwhelming fiscal benefits have proven that it's a whole lot cheaper to keep people healthy than it is to make them well after they get sick.
And so it is with the country's own financial health. This morning the Financial Services Forum -- a group of the nation's top bankers -- sent a letter to the White House and Congress warning that our country is facing grave consequences if nothing is done to address the fiscal cliff that's set to inflict over a trillion dollars of automatic budget cuts and tax increases on January 1st. 15 bank CEO signatories along with the group's president & CEO are not only calling on Washington to "negotiate a bi-partisan agreement as quickly as possible" to address the cliff, but are also urging lawmakers to ''restore the nation's long-term fiscal soundness."
As my co-host Jeff Macke and I discuss in the attached video, this blast from the bankers is hardly the first such warning to Washington, as it comes on the heels of countless other cautions from the likes of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the Congressional Budget Office, the ratings agencies and more. Even our creditors in China have warned of the dangers of doing nothing.
"They could have winnowed this down to just four words," Macke says, "do your freaking jobs."
While polls show Americans don't expect Congress to allow the fledgling economy to crumble, the financial community raises the point that the damage of uncertainty is already being done by way of cautious earnings outlooks, deferred investment and equipment purchases, and most of all, slack hiring.
Of course, this entire problem was set in motion in the aftermath of the debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and has been creeping toward the 2013 D-day ever since. Congress created the problem and only Congress can fix it, but what's known for sure and being reiterated by the bankers today is that "the American people do not deserve this."