A modest proposal to save America

Last week my wife, son and I were sitting in the living room talking about our family finances. For some reason I remarked that our savings would not matter if we had no country. Maybe that sparked another thought: “If there is no America, we have no investments”.

In other words, if America goes away our investments become meaningless and devoid of any real value (even if they retain some financial value). If that be the case why not, therefore, use our investments, while they still have some value and meaning, to help America? If we save one, we may save both.

Certainly, the founding fathers thought this as they added the final line to the Declaration of Independence pledging their “fortunes” along with their “lives and sacred honor”.

America is in serious trouble. The signs are plentiful, whether it be terrorist bombers, exploding national debt, factions who want to rewrite the Biblical moral code ingrained in our laws and culture, or the wars raging inside each individual that pull us toward destructive thoughts and actions. Many of us realize America’s critical issues, but do little or nothing to stem the tide. I use various methods to escape thinking about these disturbing realities.

It may be reading a book, watching my favorite sports team on TV, or the relying on the ultimate getaway of sleep. These are often helpful if they provide refreshment in order to get back into the battle. All too often for me, they become the end in themselves.

I am admonished and challenged by one of my heroes, Whittaker Chambers, a former Soviet spy who turned to faith in God and risked his life to expose prolific and egregious espionage within Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. Chambers was a strong advocate of action.

In his best-selling book Witness he wrote, “…the force of words alone was not enough against the treason of ideas. Acts were also required of a man if there was something in him that enabled him to act.” Chambers also indicated that, not only action, but heroic and sacrificial deeds may be needed to, “save what was left of human freedom, and specifically, that nation on which the fate of all else hinged.”

Investors can take action on behalf of America. Just for a moment, imagine what the existing trillions of dollars of investment capital could do for our country if the owners merely told those trillions to, “go help America, she is in trouble.” A large portion of those assets representing stocks would, most likely and immediately, find and invest in industries and companies that are having the biggest positive influence on our country.

Conversely, capital, along with power and influence, would dry up for industries and companies that are perpetuating harmful products and practices. In this critical hour our country needs our help. In the words of Ronald Reagan,  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it toour children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Although there has been some erosion of our freedoms each preceding generation has figured out ways to preserve the dream that is America. So, what can we do, now? Of the multitudes of things our generation can do for our country let’s not forget to consider “pledging”, as our founding fathers suggested, “our fortunes” in the form of our investments. Even a small portion would be helpful. I recently spoke to a friend who later, after some reflection, indicated he was willing to allocate $100 toward investments that reflected his values. I was encouraged because no effort is too small.

We may conclude that our personal investment capital, even if it is more than my friend’s $100, is miniscule compared to the overall market and will, therefore, have no effect. But, maybe we can draw some encouragement from the beloved American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote, “Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

The investments discussed are held in client accounts as of April 30 , 2013. These investments may or may not be currently held in client accounts. The reader should not assume that any investments identified were or will be profitable or that any investment recommendations or investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable.