THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Washington: Totally Disconnected From Main Street

Can you hear me calling you?

-Mike and The
Mechanics

Mark Twain said that when he died he wanted to be in Kentucky because everything happens 20 years later in Kentucky than in the
rest of the world.

I live in Kentucky but I
want to die in Washington.  It might be the ticket to immorality.   The people running Washington seem to exist in an alternate
universe.

Sunday’s Huffington Post headline read “Sherrod Brown: Obama
Focused on Main Street
but not all his advisers are
.”

How long did it take you to figure that one out, Sherrod?   

What was the first clue?   Double-digit unemployment?  Huge
Wall Street bonuses?  The fact that no one on Obama’s economic team
has ever worked on Main Street
in his or her entire life?

Operating a business on Main Street is a lot different than lecturing
at the Harvard Economic Club.  The team
President Obama surrounded himself with has spent way more time in a faculty
lounge than in the corner barber shop.

In the alternative universe of Washington,
the idea that Senator Brown, a progressive Democrat from Ohio, would criticize Obama’s advisers, is
considered earth-shattering.

Partisanship rules in Washington.
 And Democrats and Republicans never
deviate from their talking points. 

No one is supposed to think for himself.  Even just a little bit, like Brown did.

In the alternative universe of Washington, they don’t really understand that
people on Main Street
are hurting.  Not only are they hurting,
they are angry.  

Charlie Rose recently hosted Warren Buffett on his show.  Buffett is one of the richest guys in the
world, but he thinks he, and other rich people like him, should pay a higher
percentage in taxes. 

Buffett noted that “K Street lobbyists” had developed too
much influence in Washington
and the average American was not being heard.

Buffett was a big Obama supporter.  But he is also a realistic businessman.  He understands that our economic future
depends far more on Main Street
than on Wall Street.

Part of the reason Washington
can be an alternative universe is that it’s a city that tends to be immune to
recessions and depressions.

I was in Washington
recently and a friend told me of his dilemma of trying to buy an affordable home.  Washington
has one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.  The federal government has not had any
significant layoffs or cutbacks in many years. 
They keep on printing money. 
There are many others who work for agencies or firms that deal directly
with the government.  They are not
feeling the recession, either.  It seems
the business of government is always booming.

People in Washington
are not feeling our pain.  Or the extreme
pain that their counterparts in state and local governments are about to
feel.   

My business is somewhat recession-proof, but I operate just
off Main Street
in Richmond, Kentucky. 
Economic despair is all around me. 
I have friends, and friends of friends, come to me daily looking for a
job.  Not a high-paying career with
possibilities for advancement, benefits and a pension.  Just a job. 
A paycheck.

I don’t know what to do for them.  I don’t have jobs to give them.

We advertised for an entry level  position earlier
this year.  We were flooded with
applications, including people with advanced degrees and boatloads of experience. 

As Sherrod Brown so astutely noted, some of President
Obama’s advisers don’t “get it.” 

Those of us on Main
Street knew from Day One they wouldn’t “get it.”  Nothing in their background, education or
life experiences prepared them to understand the economic crisis from a Main Street
perspective.

I don’t blame the people Obama appointed.  I blame the guy who appointed them.

We don’t get to vote for Secretary of the Treasury or
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.   

We do get to elect a president.  A president I voted for.  One who campaigned on “change we can believe
in.

We have not had change on the economic front because Obama
chose his advisers from the same bunch of Wall Street and Washington insiders
that George W. Bush chose from.

 Tell me how Timothy Geithner,
Dr. Lawrence Summers and Ben Bernanke are different from Henry Paulson, Alan
Greenspan and the people Bush had around him?

Imagine how different economic policy would be if someone
who understood Main Street
was calling the shots.

We would have the kind of change we really could believe in.
 And was promised.

Don McNay,
CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is one of the world's leading authorities in helping
people deal with “Big Money” issues.McNay is an award
winning,  syndicated financial columnist
and Huffington Post Contributor. You can read more
about Don at www.donmcnay.com
McNay founded McNay Settlement
Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983 and Kentucky Guardianship
Administrators LLC in 2000. You can read more about both at www.mcnay.com
McNay has Master's
Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American
College and is in the
Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.  

McNay has written two
books.  Most recent is Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers
and What to Do When You Win The Lottery
McNay is a lifetime
member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations
in the financial services field.