Who Gave Us The Crash?

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            So, what is to be said about the economic crisis in which we now find ourselves?  I would surely not be the first to note that there is plenty of blame to go around.  Americans on every side of the issue have been gullible enough to believe it when told by financial institutions that they could have something for nothing.  Financial institutions have been foolish enough to have faith in that very same fairytale.  The unimaginable greed of credit card companies has been and continues to be a serial killer of American aspirations to a comfortable middle class life.  The pharmaceutical and medical insurance industries have missed no opportunity to skewer American citizens’ pocketbooks.  The list goes on and on.

            But I do believe we must look very carefully at the long-standing conservative ideology that declares all regulation and oversight of businesses, by government (of, by, and for the people), to be necessarily evil.  What we now face is towering evidence that such is not the case.  Even Republican politicians are, however uneasily, slithering unhappily toward acceptance that some regulation of the financial sector may be necessary.

            The situation we face has a fairly long history.  Beginning in the mid-seventies, the conservative wings of both (yes, both) parties have extolled the virtues of an unregulated free market.  Jimmy Carter worked to de-regulate the airline industry, leading, over time, to the chaotic mess in air transportation we have now.  Reagan worked hard to destroy the labor union movement in this country leading, over time, to a significant drop in both union membership and middle-class income levels.  Bush 41, a Republican, was busy fighting a necessary war in a responsible way and, along the way, found it necessary to raise taxes.  His party trashed him for his efforts.  Clinton presided over a relatively prosperous eight years but, in the process, gave us NAFTA.  Neither party, during the negotiations leading to that treaty, bothered to insist on protections for working people and the environment here and abroad.  And the administration of Bush 43 has been a disaster for everyone other than the super rich in just about every category one could imagine.

            All of which leads to an unexpected conclusion:  like children who need a firm hand and clear direction from responsible parents, business and industrial leaders need a firm hand and clear direction from a responsible government.  Given no such firm direction they are as likely to wander into trouble as are children.  The traditional liberal view holds that children should be free to grow up according to their own desires and abilities, and that commerce should be tightly regulated.  The traditional conservative view holds just the opposite.  It now appears that both were about half-right. 

            Failed schools are filled with children whose parents have been irresponsible.  Failed businesses are run by executives whose government has been irresponsible.

            Now, here’s the revelation.  We know that adults who are not responsible parents are usually the children of parents who have been irresponsible.  It follows that business and corporate leaders who are not responsible are the product of a governing philosophy that has lacked discipline and responsibility.  The lesson is clear.  We must clear out the free-marketeers and bring back responsible regulation of both our economic and family lives.

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One Response to “Who Gave Us The Crash?”

  1. Brett Says:

    I think there is a difference between the government giving oversight to protect the public versus the government controlling to the point of ruining things. Unfortunately, due largely (not exclusively) to the efforts of the liberals to get housing loans to people who had historically proven themselves irresponsible and unable to afford those loans, we are in the mess we are in.

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