I spent much of this past weekend investigating the crisis in the financial markets. Where such matters are concerned, I am a novice. So I have much to learn. What I did learn shocked me. How did we get into such a mess? Our economy is tottering. Even if we succeed in keeping from it from falling, the effort will cost us.
I do not blog because I think myself a font of wisdom or because I believe myself to have a marvelous writing talent. I blog to relieve my anxiety. I just don’t know what else to do that might do any good. So after the Secretary of the Treasury put out his two and a half page plan to Congress (see here), the compulsion to blog became overpowering — except I could not make up my mind.
Paulson’s plan floored me. Is the economy in such bad shape that we must give so much power to one man? I did not know what to think. Where is the Constitutional authority for such a thing? Is anyone even asking? So instead of blogging, I took a deep breath.
What is important? What is the central issue? How did we get into this mess? When I first thought to write this post, I chose a different title: “Where Is The Investigation?” My first thought – my first impulse –was to find someone to blame — Democrats, of course. If Congressional Democrats did not already know that they are to blame, would they not be investigating? But I let that thought go. Blaming others would not solve the immediate problem. We can each control only ourselves. Why did we vote such fools into public office? What course of action should I advocate?
Some time back I reviewed a book (see here) called The Fourth Turning (by William Strauss and Neil Howe). The book speaks about generational cycles. The authors believe that about every four generations, 80 years or so, human history repeats itself. Why? 80 years is about as long as most of us live.
In 1929, the stock market crashed hard, and that period we now call the Great Depression began. That was 79 years ago, long enough for men and women to die and their grandsons and granddaughters to forget the lessons they taught. What have we forgotten? What happened during the Roaring Twenties? With eyes glazed over by personal greed, did the people of that era also seek easy money to persue their materialistic dreams? Did they too find out that there is no easy way we can avoid paying the full price of our pleasures?
Consider what historian and writer James Truslow Adams once called the “American Dream” in his 1931 book Epic of America:.
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” (from here)
How many times have you heard that the “American Dream” is about fancy houses, sleek cars, stylish clothing or big screen high definition televisions? It was not always so. What the “American Dream” once demanded is that we treat each other with mutual respect and charity. What it once demanded is that we use our government to protect each others rights, not as a tool to reward our friends and punish our enemies – and most certainly not as a device to further our personal gains.
What is Paulson’s proposed financial bailout bill about? Is it about what the “American Dream” once was or is it about the pursuit of things? What place does giving so much power to one man have in the “American Dream”.
There are many who worry that passing Paulson’s proposed financial bailout bill would nationalize the mortgage loan industry. These people do not yet appreciate the full scope of the problem. The Federal Government is already too much involved; the industry has already been largely nationalized. What Paulson is asking us to do is to bail out a failed government adventure in socialism. Blame whichever political party you wish, but our government has created a government dominated system of lending agencies. Instead of making responsible business decisions, these agencies have made loans based upon political decisions. And now the taxpayer is being asked to bail out the politicians who made those bad decisions. And because we elected these politicians, the entire nation is culpable.
I see only one good solution. We must immediately set about privatizing the entire lending industry. We cannot trust (We would be fools to do so.) the people who created the financial mess to fix the current system.
John McCain will play a key role in how the financial crisis is ultimately resolved. In his September 19, 2008 weekly radio address (see here), McCain did a good job of describing the problems that created the financial crisis. Where he falls short is in calling for privatizing the lending industry. Where he falls short is in refusing to buy up (that is, he would buy up) a lot of debt that was never backed with the full faith and credit of the United States government.
What we need to do is let McCain and his fellow congressmen know that we want back our “American Dream”. We do not want our government used to raid each others pocketbooks. We want a government that we use to protect each others rights. What we need to do is pray for our country, write our congressmen (United States Senate and United States House of Representatives), and send a note to John McCain or Barack Obama.