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November 9th, 2011
07:09 PM ET

Letters to the President #1024: 'The leaning tower of Italy'

Reporter's Note: I try to be encouraging during my daily letters to the White House, but some days I grow a little frustrated.

Dear Mr. President,

Oh great, now Italy is falling apart too! Can nobody on this planet keep from smashing their piggybanks these days?

Here I was working away, watching developments in the Herman Cain saga, and the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, and suddenly I see the stock market plunging like a hog pushed off of a building. The new head of the International Monetary Fund is saying, “The global economy has entered a dangerous and uncertain phase.”

What kind of talk is that? Look, I don’t understand much about all these matters, but frankly I think I need something more than “Be very afraid” to keep me sane at this point. Come on, give us some solutions, some ideas, some reason to hope that our problems are manageable and we will…well, um…manage them.

This is not too much to ask. Leaders are supposed to show leadership, not just tell us to brace for impact. Are the solutions to our worldwide economic woes hard to come by? Yes. So what? You and all your fellow world leaders were not elected just to handle the roster for annual softball picnic. You were chosen specifically to be capable, intelligent, brave and ready when problems came our way.

Sometimes my daughters complain about how hard their homework is, and this is usually my reply: “Hey, if you want to be the best at something you have to work harder than anyone else at achieving it.”

And right now, that is what I wish I could say to you and all the rest of the world’s leaders in regard to the global economy: Quit whining about how hard it is; cancel all your fundraisers, campaign trips, and state dinners; and focus every waking moment on solving these problems.

I suspect any leader anywhere who does that with even moderate success will probably hold onto power, and those who don’t…well, they deserve whatever political fate comes their way.

You can start by calling Italy and asking what the heck is going on.

Regards,
Tom

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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