Memo to President-Elect Obama: Accountants Have Something to Tell You

What's your best advice for how the next President should try to fix the financial system and the economy?

Hundreds of CPAs have clicked on the survey link and added their comments and ideas for the next President. You can join the survey here; and get the results. Or, just add your comments directly below by clicking here.

Here are a few of the latest comments from finance and accounting professionals around the nation:

1.      STAY OUT OF IT! What makes our capitalism work is that the government does not control it. I believe things will correct themselves faster on their own, than if the government gets involved. That being said, however, I do think the government should look at the possibility of regulations in the banking and mortgage industries that might prevent situations like the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiascos.

2.      Forget about a permanent presidency (i.e. trying to get re-elected immediately after taking office).

3.      Mergers and consolidation of city, county state and federal government. If it is so good for the private sector why not the government?

4.      Get government out of the lives of the citizens. Also, make all people pay some federal income tax. Also, slash government spending in half overnight. Further, send Congress home for six months of each year.

5.      End the tax cuts from the Bush administration effective with the 2009 tax year. Get to work on the country's infrastructure and health care crises.

6.      Across the board income tax cut - particularly geared towards capital gains, dividends and corporate taxes.
2. Across the board federal budget reduction of 5-10%.
3. Ensure regulations on bank mortgage lending requirements are strengthened.
4. Temporarily suspend mark-to-market accounting rules.
5. Work with Congress to address social security & medicare funding gaps - which has to include raising the required retirement age.

7.      Bring the jobs back to our country. Penalize companies that take the jobs overseas. Examine the de-regulation that has taken place and determine what we need to re-regulate. Make pensions safe and do NOT allow companies to dismiss them in bankruptcy.

8.      FIX THE MONEY MARKET FUNDS!! GET THE LONG-TERM PERPETUAL VARIABLE RATE DEBT (& REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS) OUT & GO BACK TO REGULATED, HONEST-TO-GOD SHORT TERM HOLDING ONLY, ALLOWED TO BE HELD BY MONEY MARKET FUND MANAGERS!!

9.      Carefully tighten regulations to prevent future problems - be careful not to over-regulate. Work to become proactive rather than reactive to new economic problems. The debt must stop growing at the speed with which it currently is. That must be accomplished with very careful spending cuts and increases in revenue - including income taxes. While doing this those siffering the most in the economy must be cared for.

10.  Provide jobs in improving infrastructure and production of clean energy rather than give away "stimulus" payments

11.  Revamp the civil service system. As taxpayers we are going facing payments for future government pension benefits that are significant. Stop the pork spending. We have reached the point of spending on pet projects for each representative's district that borders on the absurd.

12.  One major contributing factor to our financial system meltdown is the lack of the financial literacy of the average American. AICPA literature on financial literacy points out that the average american spends $1.22 for every $1 earned.
It is no wonder that personal debt is so high. It is time for financial literacy to be taught in our schools...beginning in elementary school and continuing through college. Our schools do a great job of teaching students how to make money...but not how to keep it.

And...maybe it is time to move from an income tax to a consumption tax.

13.  While we need solutions to our immediate financial crisis, we have a much larger, longer-term "time bomb" ticking in the form of the national debt. I am concerned that debt could result in the literal dissolution of the United States. PLEASE: * stop the innumerable giveaways and pork; * closely scrutinize and reduce even the worthwhile Federal programs; * begin living within our budget; and * urge Americans to look toward our long-term financial stability and solvency. We need courageous and honest leadership more than ever. We simply cannot continue running up the national credit card.

14.  Do NOT raise taxes.

Let the markets work this out for themselves and keep the government out of the way.

Let foreclosures happen as this will lower the inflated prices of homes and help those in the future.

STOP protecting the housing industry and let the bubble burst.

15.  start convicting and fining more greedy executives and not exempting any of their assets, i.e. including trust and retirement funds, from seizure.

16.  Fund programs to educate consumers and Congress on how to live within their means.

17.  Keep your nose out of our businesses!!! We can run them just fine without your meddling!!!

18.  Dear Mr. President--Do everything to restore confidence in the US eceonomy. Improve oversight for investment products that bring a lot of risk to investors who do not understand associated high risk levels. But allow investors to fail, and do not overregulate. Keep taxes low, so that people can take risk and be rewarded. DO NOT REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH, or you will kill the golden goose of risk taking and appropriate reward. Keep the country focused on the long term, and please make physical protection of our country a top priority, constantly supporting our military and local police. It is a very uncertain time we live in, and it will not get any easier. Do everything possible to create flex fuel cars (Brazil model would be a great place to start), clean processing of coal to get methanol, and get us off of foreign oil. Thank you, and God bless you and God bless America.

19.  End interest-only mortgages; make mortgage lenders list in BOLD letters at the top of the mortgage document whether it's a fixed rate or variable rate mortgage; put into law that we will no longer bail out failed lending institutions to keep them from making risky loans; end the war in Iraq ASAP to help alleviate the deficit; dramatically increase investing in solar, wind, and hydropower technologies; repeal NAFTA.

20.  Re-Regulate, and be sure to fund the regulatory agencies & put best and brightest in place at the top

Provide some sort of incentive/bail out to
home-owners that are hurt by the crisis

21.  Go back to the old fashioned way of lending money by making sure the debtors have a decent shot of paying it back.

22.  Please WORK To REDUCE Government Spending and abolish earmarks. Federal Government Spending is out of control and a travisty perpetrated on Americans. It promises to ruin the USA for all of us and obliterate a successful and happy future for all of our children.

23.  Don't increase capital gains taxes. Everyone invested in 401k and IRA has gains of these type. Extend the mandatory age to retreive your funds by at least 5 years and if you need to reverse it do in stages starting 2 years from now grandfathering in those who qualified for the older ages.

24.  There needs to be a focus on responsibility all the way around. The financial system's foundation is investor confidence in the system itself. When the ethics of the system (too much greed, lax checks and balances, over or under regulation) are out of balance, the health of the overall system suffers. The economy needs strategic boosts along the way, but over time will heal. Don't do to many short term fixes though, since the foundation here needs some rebuilding and that will be a mid-to long term fix.

25.  Impact all income levels within the American populance. Stable economy is the foundation for so many other initiatives, this has to be the top priority.

26.  I think that the current economic situation is important but the future economic outloook is a severe crisis that needs to be fixed. The government keeps spending while they expect the people to be on a budget. Money people paid for social security was used for other things and now the future is in trouble. I think the government needs to do what the people and companies are doing - control their spending and prepare for the obligations of the future.

27.  We are witnessing the logical outcome of a society/culture that has been morally, culturally, ethically and idealistically bankrupt for years. In a culture where human worth ranked by material ownership and degree of excessive consumption, we should be surprised at executive and banking and corporate greed? Well, Sir, you have the perfect opportunity to 'set the tone at the top'. What are your values that can set this global mess into perspective and start the (VERY) long healing process? Only you know, only in your heart of hearts. Wha cha' got???

28.  Listen to non-partisian advisors; solicit the expert advice of outside counsel from the investment, accounting and economic communities, especially CPA's.

29.  Suspend the capital gains tax for a short period of time which will allow people to take their gains tax free. It will also put an influx of cash back into the economy. That helps the richer folks. Also, do away with the earned income tax credit but raise the minimum wage so that people who do work can earn more. EIC is extremely abused, difficult to administer, and totally unfair to working families. I find all the talk about "spreading the wealth" funny since we've already been doing this for 20 years or so. The really low income folks will benefit more from a pay raise (and thus actually pay more into Social security) so they won't need the EIC anymore. Finally, increase credits for child care, elder care, and college expenses in order to give your middle class people who are the most squeezed a little break. They most likely have few or no capital gains to take and aren't getting EIC now so that gives them a break. That's my tax plan.

30.  Use the advisors such as Paul Volker, Warren Buffet, Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Laura Tyson, William Seidman to the fullest extent possible, and follow the consensus advice.

31.  Use Keynesian economics. Follow the model of FDR. Employment comes from enviornmental initiatives and infrastructure repairs.

32.  Please, please, please base your economic recovery plan on sound economics, and not on the knee-jerk fixes that may be popular with the party leadership.

33.  Review all your speeches. Make a list of promises and changes sought. Monetize them and create a priority list. Allocate over time based on current events and consumer mood. Reality over ambition.

34.  move quickly to get to the bottom of financial crisis and then develop a strategy to get us back on the right track and have safeguards or rules in place so that we never face this situation gain.

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2 Responses to “Memo to President-Elect Obama: Accountants Have Something to Tell You”

  1. Lalit Abichandani

    Focus on USA, spend on infrastructure, educate masses, build hospitals (affordable), create more railroads (new routes) build excellent public transportation system. Put a heavy duty on imports and jobs overseas. Give incentive for every job created. Give recognition to companies who are following these models. Get commitment from young Americans to build the nation. Motivate people to work hard and focus on USA. We have been the role model for the world, now we are slipping. you have shown that you can creat a movement, I would urge you to take this momentum and build on it. We are all with you. We need to reach the stars and you have the torch, give us the direction. USA is hoping you will pull us thru.

  2. Nnanna Chukwu

    I have observed that in the Accounting profession we thalk more of the independent of the Auditor while the accountants remain dependent.

    My advice to President Obama is that Accountants should be independent. We should be refering to the executives As Chief Executive officers (CEO) and not CEO/CAO.