Filed Under:Your Practice, Regulatory

The fiscal cliff: just another good old Western story

Gary Cooper, shown in this undated file photo, is seen as the stern sheriff in
Gary Cooper, shown in this undated file photo, is seen as the stern sheriff in "High Noon." (AP Photo/fls)

In speaking with wealth advisor Lee Davis of J.L. Davis Financial Corp. something struck me like a lightening bolt and I’m not sure why I hadn’t realized it already — the fiscal cliff is really just another good old western story.

If you could suspend disbelief for a moment, you have Obama and Boehner walking towards one another on a dusty one-street town. The barber, the butcher and the barkeep all peer out from behind their storefronts. They all know the impending battle that looms over their town.

What prompted my epiphany? Well, lot’s of things, really. But the real catalysts were the TV and something Davis said.

Davis and I are talking in his Greenwood Village, Colo. office with a flat screen TV flickering on the wall. A phalanx of politicians takes their turn at a podium. The sound is off. Below them are the words “Congressman X says something about the fiscal cliff.” At least that’s the way I read it.

If I were Elvis and it were my TV I might pull out a six-shooter and blow it to smithereens, but then again, this is Davis’ TV and I’m not Elvis so I resort to reading lips. This is what I see the politicians say: “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.” In my head it sounds a lot like the teachers from the Charlie Brown cartoons.

I ask Davis about the fiscal cliff and how he communicates the information to his clients. He raises his eyebrows and says: “I deal in truth.” It reminds me of the great line from the great western “The Magnificent Seven,” when the Steve McQueen character says: “We deal in lead, friend.”

“We already know what is going to change,” Davis says. “The law is the law. We are grounded in reality and express that to our clients. All of that is posturing.” We both look at the TV again where politicians continue to posture and strut at the podium like Banty Roosters performing for the chicks.

In a college film class I studied “High Noon,” one of the true classics of the genre. When I think of the film now, in terms of current day America, I see the dusty street, the ticking clock, the terrified townspeople. You know what I don’t see? Gary Cooper, the one guy in the “white hat” willing to stand up against the bad guys, to stand up against all odds, to stand up for himself, and in doing so, to stand up for us.

For more from Daniel Williams, see:

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