I have to admit, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Michael Milken.. He did deserve the jail time he got, he was breaking securities laws in an attempt to hide his holdings and influence. But in the scope of Wall Street characters or scoundrels, whichever you prefer, he was also an innovator that helped change and yes improve our financial markets.
Milken, for all practical purposes, found a new way to slice and dice the risk pie with corporate bonds – he was the inventor of high yield bonds for companies that couldn’t secure traditional bond financing. Yes, many really were “junk” bonds. But many companies that had been locked out of the credit markets were now able to participate, and many of those companies used the funding to grow their operations and provide a return to their shareholders and bond holders. And its also worth noting that he devoted his after prison life to promoting math skills, surely one of the most important skills for every student in our modern world.
One of the great things about being a person of faith is believing in forgiveness and redemption. Michael Milken paid his debt to society, and threw himself into more, into giving back. This doesn’t change that he committed crimes many years ago. But I’m happy that he has been pardoned and will have a chance to more fully participate in our society and political system. Now if we can only extend the same forgiveness to the many millions of people who’s only crime was to be caught with marijuana.
We're In This Together
Sometimes it seems as if "Conversation" has become a bad word in our country, as if talking to someone not in complete agreement with you is a sign of weakness. Sometimes it seems as if Anger is the only energizing force we allow ourselves. I believe in a different America. An America where two people can disagree but still respect the basic humanity of the other person. An America where it is possible to disagree without hate, to talk without shouting. I believe, even still, in the ideal of the United States of America, a democracy where each person has the right to pursue their own life, and have their own opinion. If our country is less great than it once was, it is because we have slipped away from this idea, this belief that all men and women have the right to choose the course of their own lives, and their own opinions. It is both the left and the right that have slipped away from this idea, allowed their anger to somehow convince themselves to question the humanity of the other side. Sometimes it seems that fighting anger with reason is impossible. But if history has proven anything, it is that reason does always eventually win. This blog is my effort to again have a conversation, to replace anger with reason. I hope you will join me in a conversation, and together we can recapture the faith in our country and our citizens that made America great.