Everywhere I go these days people are worried about the economy in general and the financial system in particular. They know something is terribly wrong but they don’t quite understand what it is or why. The primary problem is that the Federal government is functioning very poorly, and sometimes barely at all. We do not have a political consensus in this country and have not had one for most of the past two decades. We desperately need a new leader to emerge — a new Roosevelt, Eisenhower or Reagan who will take command, persuade us to take the long view, and do what’s right for future generations.

I’m sure they exist but our political system has not produced one in far too long. Our nation’s financial system has been on remote control for most of the past too decades with either no direction or the wrong kind of direction. The senseless financial panic of 2008 to 2010, the effects of which were felt for a decade thereafter, did not need to happen or to have had anywhere near the negative impact it did.

Due in part to phenomenal developments in technology, the economy and the stock market have been on fire the past several years, despite a seriously malfunctioning government. The administrative and congressional branches are in chaos, as are the financial regulatory agencies. Federal fiscal policy has been careening out of control since 2000, when the Federal deficit stood at just over $5 trillion.

It took over 200 years to accumulate that deficit. Now, just two decades later at the close of 2021, the Federal deficit stands at over $30 trillion, and the leadership of our currently ruling party is clamoring to add trillions more in debt. The Federal Reserve has ceased being a restraint on reckless political spending and instead has been printing excessive amounts of money, setting off inflation it took us more than a decade of destruction and pain to eradicate in the 1980s.

Where have all the leaders gone in our fragile democracy, and what will it take to get them back? We the people need to step up very soon and and elect strong new leadership to once again put our nation back on a sound footing. The longer we wait, the more painful the reconstruction will be. I’ve seen this movie before, and it does not end well without strong, wise leaders willing to make very difficult decisions and persuade us to follow their lead.

Bill Isaac, Former Chairman, FDIC