As a mother, I told my children that trust was something that was given freely until it was abused and then it would take a long, long time to earn it back. So how can we get back to a trust basis with our trust having been so terribly abused?
Trust is cited as one of the reasons for the credit crunch and the basis for this whole market meltdown. Trust is a commodity you cannot pay for with tax payer funds. That lack of trust, IMO, has a clearer lineage than does Credit Default Swaps (the other identified "patient" in this financial dysfunctional family). It started way back with having two parties divide power. It has been said that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" and we have seen that to be true with the Bushcos and their spying on Americans, the desertion of NOLA, the corruption in DoJ and the current boiling mess. But I think we can say with some assurance that the striving for power without any other goal in mind has corrupted some dems as well and sent some repubs to jail.
I propose changes in the following areas:
Since trust isn't a commodity that one can buy with taxpayer funds, how to accumulate such a thing?
First, I would like to see some evidence of rational reform in many areas:
1 Congress has to clean up its act and get away from influence peddling. Each of us can think of a million ways for this to occur. I can think of two:
a) genuine campaign finance reform. - Either taxpayer funded or air time freely given by licensees of radio and tv or a combination might work.
b) genuine ethics reform - no more policing your own. Please implement some kind of outside the loop structure that gives us a feeling of actual effort and actual work and an instilling of actual fear on the part of members of congress if they transgress. Additionally, this outside area might be used in true whistle blower reform.
2 Banking has to clean up its act. Regulation Reform has to occur that allows a framework of regulating any new "hedge" fund that crafty folks come up with. Pain has to stay with the originator of the gain. If you sell fraudulent mortgages or iffy mortgages you must bear the risk of default. Not the poor schlep that took on your crappy paper, or the really really poor schlep that didn't even know he/she was investing in crappy paper. The 2nd holder of crappy paper ought to bear some blame as well and some of the pain. As he/she should have investigated more thoroughly what they were getting. I am letting us, the 3rd, 4th and 5th hand recipients of crappy paper off the hook. We had no way to investigate and no way to know what was crappy and what was real. We had trust, and the investment community steer us badly.
3 Investment houses must find ways to build up trust again. They have done so over and over, but this time I think there must be more. Investment reform - investment houses have to be able to back up their words. If they say such and such is a good deal, then by gummy that good deal should be a good deal for at least a year. Less than that, the investment house should ante up. Otherwise it will take a lot longer for trust to be built up in this area.
4 Politicians should henceforth realize that divisions are not helpful in this environment and could be devastating to our future political health. You want to spar with your opponent fine, but YOU MUST NOT INCITE A RIOT with your rhetoric. And this should be judged, not by FEC or by the pols themselves but by the ballot. And additional line (or lines for each contest) on the ballot should be asked - did the candidate (and which candidate) run a fair campaign. If the answer is no, candidate has to pay a fine and has to address the constituency about that and how they saw it. True, this will be overused at first, but the fine will be insignificant and go to funding an independent watchdog group that oversees elections or an outside ethical group that can adjudicate and pass some kind of public judgement on the election. There are probably other and less bulky ways, but some kind of integrity has to begin to form in this country and one, preferably, that doesn't chew us up into pieces.
5 The media has to immediately come into true "fair and balanced" composure. Fines for Michelle Malkins and O'Lielly's and yes, sometimes even KO have to make the point that this is NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE! I think providing free time for pols of all stripes who have been mentioned on the shows ought to happen immediately. After 11:00 pm may be acceptable, except in egregious cases. That could be the most fun hour for those of us who are junkies!
6 Churches have to accept a lesser status than they have had. They have abused their privileges and now should suffer with the rest of us. ONLY TRUE CHARITABLE parts of churches should get tax exempt status. Or schools. Since so much of what has occurred in so many pulpits has been reprehensible, 'splain to me why taxpayers should fund churches if you disagree.
7 Reforming the DoJ has to begin immediately after the election. People who have defied subpoenas, people who have dishonored the meaning of justice, people who have tried to provide cover for partisanship purposes should be cited and disbarred. Stronger measures to bring recalcitrant administration officials to the sunlight have to be created.
8 We the People have not been asked to sacrifice during the GWOT. Instead only those who actually sacrificed the most - the troops have been asked over and over and over into insanity to sacrifice. The wild dissent into poverty will probably swell the ranks of troops, giving relief, it is hoped for those used and abused over the last 5 years. But the rest of us need to know that it is patriotic to pay taxes to support our returning troops, their health conditions, their education and their housing. It is foolish not to expect that we also have to pay for GOOD diplomatic exercises to chill heat in war torn areas, to fund Afghan farmers venture into other growing crops besides opium, etc. It is also foolish to expect that we do not have to pay for the folks incompetency that we allowed into office during "w's" term. These things will need the taxpayer's sacrifice over and over for the next five years, probably. But what did you expect? You thought you could get away with a war on the cheap? You thought that just because you could get money from equity in your home there wasn't a thing wrong with that either? You thought tht because you were told over and over that things were okay they really WERE okay? I think we all knew better. I think that we knew Rummy was a dummy. I think we really in our secret heart of hearts expected some sacrifice that day 9/11. I think when "w" said "go shopping" we all sensed the wrongness, the disconnect. I think we do have good instincts when we get good information. I think we can demand more from our "leaders" and I think We the People will lead more ourselves. I think watchdog groups like CREW are invaluable as some of the better investigative blogging. There needs to be an overall watch dog committee that we can fund with donations that will dole out funds to the best efforts out there.