I am an Obama supporter. I hope you’ll hear me out. I wrote the following in a comment the other day:
- Obama cares about people.
- Obama is very, very smart.
- Obama has good judgment.
I do not believe:
- Obama is a witting or unwitting tool of the Corporatists.
- Geithner and Summers are the root of all evil.
- Obama is infallible.
As far as what is the best course of action to take on the financial crisis, I have no idea. I have read most of the economists regularly cited here, and today, typically, Jerome a Paris and bonddad both have recommended diaries with contrary views of Geithner’s Public/Private Plan. Both argue well--with reason and facts and credibility to back their views. I respect and admire both, but I have no friggin’ clue who is right.
But I do believe I know what’s not right.
More below the crease.
First and foremost, komrades, let us never forget how we got in this mess. This crisis is the direct result of Reagan Republican Trickle-Down economic theory. This is the deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, smaller "gov’mint" philosophy taken to its maturity. And, let me tell you, the fruit it produced was toxic. And the current Republican philosophy seems to be "Let’s plant another tree that produces toxic fruit" (i.e., more deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy).
So before we start name-calling, let’s remember who the real bad guys are. Do Democrats and Independents bear blame as well? You bet your ass they do. We, collectively, do. But no one bears more responsibility for this fiasco than the Rethugs. Never forget that.
Now, as I said before, I have no idea what the best solution to our problem is. (Maybe there’s more than one, bonddad and Jerome?) But I do think I know what is not good. I don’t think it’s good to just let the whole system fail. That seems to be the philosophy among many here. When I read a good diary like that of bonddad or Jerome, in the comments people are just wild. They make comments like "The investors deserve to lose." Well, wait a minute, I’m 57 years old I have one son in college and another headed there next year. I’d like to retire someday. Our college and retirement savings have taken a huge hit. I know many are reading this thinking, "I wish I had some savings...or a job...or a home...or healthcare." I am not whining. We are very, very fortunate, but Mrs. Dragon and I are both teachers. We are not rich. Our teacher retirement fund, our 403b savings, and our 529 plan are all invested in the market. The market matters to me and to millions of ordinary "investors." Letting the economy collapse to "cleanse it," as some have suggested, may sound good when you’re 20, but not so good when you’re my age.
I am also not a socialist. Neither is Obama. By socialism, I do not mean universal single-payor healthcare. I mean
public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.
If you are a socialist, that’s fine. You may advocate your view, but I do not believe that socialism, as defined above, is the right solution to our problem.
I am a capitalist. I also strongly believe that capitalism should be regulated by the government so that the people are protected. Adequate limits and reserves should be required in all financial transactions involving risk.
I also do not believe in "the ruling class." One of the great things about the US is that the people are ultimately "the ruling class." That does not mean that the people always make the right decision or that the people are not misled. Clearly, we make mistakes. Clearly we are duped at times.
I do not think that there was some vast conspiracy among "Corporatists" to make the system so complex no one can understand it. I do think it is complex, but I think it was more haphazard than Machiavellian in achieving its complexity. So I am not quite ready to break out the guillotine and chop off all the corporate and banking heads.
Quite simply, people got greedy and there was no barrier there to stop them. They found a way to game the system and game it they did. If you don’t think this is human nature, take a stack of ones into a busy subway or mall and toss them in the air. Be sure to get out of the way. That’s why we need laws and regulations.
Our banking system and capitalism, properly regulated, helped make the US the wealthiest nation on earth. We prospered after the regulatory reforms of the 1930s. We have crashed because we have allowed many of those regulations to be dismantled. The problem is/was not capitalism, but deregulation coupled with a philosophy of government that rewarded the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.
Let me wrap up. I do not know the best solution to the problem. I do not think extreme measures like abandoning our banking system or our capitalist philosophy is it, though.
Since I do not have all the answers, I will trust the man I supported for President, even when it comes to Geithner and Summers. I think he is absolutely the best man for the job. I believe he has my interests at heart. I believe he is very intelligent and will use his best judgment. I also know he is not perfect, but as Obama himself is wont to say, "Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
Criticism? Well and good. Pitchforks and torches? Let's give Obama a chance.
I leave you with my question:
Who would you rather have as President right now?