The things we’ve been through on the political and economic front for the last few years have been quite sobering events for many of us. In some ways it’s good because it has caused us to question the very basic tenants of our government in ways that we haven’t thought to question it. It can also be a time of a considerable amount of uncertainty, however, because the distinction between friend and foe can be blurred in the quest to find the answers we seek. We perhaps do not understand who our real enemies are because they can be found in the most unsuspected of places, and even they perhaps do not quite understand the consequences of what they say.
We can find the answers to the big questions we now are confronting in many of the same places we used to find them. They are all there waiting. It’s just a matter of understanding what they meant to us, and what they mean to us now. Reagan wasn’t wrong, nor did he just patch together a temporary solution to a certain calamity that we are now living. The compromises he made did not lead to where we are today. In fact, they made the kind of lives we were leading prior to the mortgage schemes possible, despite all of the other things that were left unchanged. It is the deviation from them, and lack of attention toward keeping them in everything government does that has caused this miserable state of affairs. But if you believe a large part of the rhetoric coming from our side today, especially concerning monetary affairs, the only logical conclusion is that Reagan was nothing but a scoundrel in sheep’s clothing at worst, or simply did the best he could to make his time livable. He was both right and a great American patriot, or he was a liar and/or a miserable failure. He cannot be both, and I think it is a dangerous place to go to allow ourselves to be convinced of the latter.
There is nothing wrong with compromising with the left and getting the basics of what we need to build the kind of world we want to live in. It is something both sides want, and bridging our differences to get there should be our main goal if we ever hope to go back to the days we enjoyed life for the sake of life itself instead of using our limited time fighting the political battles of our lives. If we go out and try to destroy the other side we will end up with nothing because a house divided against itself cannot stand. And that phrase has far more to do with the effects of the conflict on bystanders and the quality of life we lead during it, than what the existence of conflict itself does.
The first thing we should be doing is identifying the actual cause of our misery and alleviating it. The things both sides did to our markets with the mortgage schemes are on the first order of magnitude in causation. The second major contributing factor was the change in the stance of monetary policy because the Federal Reserve decided that price stability should be its only goal, and then failed miserably at it by letting the price level fall too far and then leaving it to work its way through the economy in the massive recalculation requited to bring prices back into equilibrium. All of the other problems that inflame our sensibilities, like the pressure put on safety net programs from all the desperate people who have been victims in the terrible clash of policy mistakes, come directly from these two issues. The rest of the problems come from the political situation created by these mistakes, the left hounding the right with a rather arrogant attitude of “we won, now suck it up” while attempting to reverse nearly all of the compromises made over the last 30 years without a shred of logic behind what they were doing.
Are there, and were there things going on in government that we didn’t like? Sure. We think safety net programs should be rationalized or done away with. But we need to be clear about it, that these things are not contributing factors to the political and economic problems we currently have. There is a big difference between causing them and exacerbating them, and we need to be able to draw a distinction. There is plenty of evidence they are structurally flawed in that they cannot withstand economic disturbances of any kind without becoming headwinds. They are in stateful derangement, but are not the things that came knocking at our door to empty our bank accounts in the middle of the night in 2008. If we could live with them in 2000, we can live with them now if we fixed the basic cause of our current problems – we just need to fix them, and we need to convince the left to fix them.
I think that is really what I am getting at here. When we start discounting all of the work that has been done over the last 30 years to get to a livable world, we start getting out into a place from where we can never come back while the most basic and grievous wrongs concerning that world are left unattended. I think it is wrong to allow the Federal Reserve to needlessly destroy our world, and every possible measure to correct it is needed most expeditiously. But that isn’t what has been happening, even with the very little bit of power Republicans have to deal with this big mess. They are making any relief from this nightmare impossible by blocking nominees to the Board of Governors and that is something more to be quite angry about. It isn’t only the left destroying our world, but the right also for reasons that are pretty clear to me. It isn’t just Obama racking up debt and making poor folks out of those who were once comfortably self-sufficient, and that is why I say that we need to be clear about who our enemies really are because there are partisans with little concern about you on both sides of the fence, not just his.