The words, in French, literally mean "to leave alone". In other words, if something goes wrong (like, say, with the economy), you let it eventually right itself.
You don't hear much about this phrase, probably because laissez sounds too much like lazy and nowadays no one in the federal government wants to be painted as that. However, that is essentially what the Republicans believe.
When TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) was being debated in the House and the Senate in the summer of 2008 we saw Congress people like Michelle Bachmann shouting to anyone who would listen that we shouldn't give the banks this money. They could right this themselves. The fact that Lehman Brothers was left alone and started this domino effect of banks failing didn't seem to deter her passion on this subject.
It's easy to kibitz on this now, what with all of the bonus money being handed out for basically screwing up the economy, but what if we had just let things take their course? People like avid conservative John Stossel proposed this that same fall in an interview on CNN. As a matter of fact, he used the term laissez-faire to describe what should be done. Guess who else espoused this? Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. The person who moderated the question and answer session with the President on Jan. 29, 2010.
When things were falling apart in 2008, Rep. Mike Pence was calling on his fellow representatives to oppose the bank bailout. http://www.pointofview.net/...
"Economic freedom means the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. The decision to give the federal government the ability to nationalize almost every bad mortgage in America interrupts this basic truth of our free market economy..."
Freedom to fail. This is the bedrock of laissez-faire thinking. Let it happen. Let it fail. It will all work out. Just like in the movies.
The problem was that it wasn't him or his family that was about to fail, but millions of others across America.
He wrote this on September 29, 2008. A couple of weeks after Lehman Brothers had filed bankruptcy and the day after Washington Mutual had done the same.
He's like Kevin Bacon's character during the parade gone made in "Animal House". "Do not panic. All is well." Right.
How many banks do you think would have failed had we not stepped in? How many bank jobs alone would have been lost? If you say none or a few, exactly how did you get to those numbers? Lehman fell, AIG was about to fall, Washington Mutual fell, Bear Stearns started the whole thing in March of 2008. These were not small entities. They were all huge. As we see in all panics, they have a snowball effect. A big company goes down and investors are trying to stay ahead by selling before they get hurt. It doesn't stop until the dust settles and there was going to be a lot of dust. How much was going to have to settle before we could say, "Okay, let's pick up the pieces?"
I would like you to ask this of yourself. Would YOU have made it if we had just left it alone? Where would you be if we had let it all shake out? Where would you be then?
A lot of people have criticized the bailouts. With the bonuses being handed out to the people who created this debacle, I can't blame them. However, what was the alternative? How many people would have lost their jobs and suddenly discovered the Freedom to Fail?
Don't let this start over nonsense on health care reform fool you. They want to do the same thing with this. Leave it alone. They want to delay this as long as possible. They hope to get power back in at least one house of Congress. If they do, do you really think that they seriously want to change things?
What proof do I have that they will do nothing? That's exactly what happened in 1995, after the Republicans had taken over the House of Representatives with Newt Gingrich as Speaker. All talk of health care reform went away and now look where we are today. Have your premiums gone down since then? The number of non-immigrants without health care has increased by tens of millions of people. Are you one of them? If you would have lost your job, would you have been one of them?
The Republicans have been screaming about how they were never really included in the health care debate. "Include us and we'll get things done."
On February 25, 2010, the President will convene a summit on health care and has invited the Republicans along.
They are already hemming and hawing about how this is some kind of trap. They want everything to be scrapped before it begins. In other words, they want it to fail. Just wait, they won't commit to anything. They will yell about how is costs too much. They will be the ultimate party poopers.
The Republicans have never been in serious negotiations with the Democrats on this and the upcoming Health Care Summit will show that they don't want to talk to them even if invited. So, why do it? Because this time it will be on tape.
When they do this, we need to be ready to shout it out loud. "Freedom to Fail. Freedom to Fail. That's all you guys want."
That's their real mantra, folks. That's what the Party of No is really all about.
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