Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being Rational Reformers

Here are two rational economic voices, Arianna Huffington and Congressman Ron Paul, on reform. Arianna speaks of the necessity of cleaning up bad assets (foreclosed properties) still on bank books along with banks that have grown are now even more "too big to fail." She addresses the $1 million homeless children whose parents did not take out bad loans but lost their jobs. Both the banks and state of homeless children have the potential of great economic calamity now and in the future.

Ron Paul is someone I have always respected, even when I thought his ideas were perhaps too far on the edge. But I've been listening to him more lately with a different set of ears. Paul's comments here about President Obama's label of socialism is worth considering: "Some conservatives accuse Obama of socialized medicine," he said. "I don't think so. I think he wants to perpetuate corporatism. Whether in financial markets (think Geithner, Summers, and Bernanke), medical care (think insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies) or whatever." This is the exact opposite of irrational voices screaming socialism. Hmm?

7 comments:

John O'Leary said...

Yup, to a libertarian, Obama's economic & foreign policies (which are pretty centrist really) are a cause for alarm. I like some things about Ron Paul - and was thoroughly entertained by his Presidential candidacy last year - but I don't know about returning to the gold standard. (Always an interesting debate, however.) And I'm not ready to bury the Federal Reserve yet. (I guess that makes me a centrist too!)

zorro said...

I saw Ron Paul last summer discuss the Civil War. For some reason, during an interview on MSNBC, he thought it would be relevant to share his view that the Civil War was a mistake. I'm waiting for him to denounce the building of the pyramids as something that should never have been funded by the ancient Egyptian government.

Judith Ellis said...

John - I hear you. I most definitely had my concerns too and I laughed often too. But he's a smart man. I thought he made a lot of sense today. Still reading on the Federal Reserve. I'm not sure altogether about the gold standard, but I assume it's better than our current debt standard. Buffett has been buying up gold lately. But Berkshire also lost its AAA credit score rating because it engaged in credit default swaps.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - I remember you telling that story here before. Paul can be quite edgy to say the least. But I assume that many of us have said debatable things. He happens to say perhaps more such things than most. :-)

John O'Leary said...

Zorro, thanks for the heads up on the Civil War statement. I just discovered the quote from Meet the Press: "Slavery was phased out in every other country in the world, The way I'm proposing that it should have been done is do it like the British Empire did -- you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?... I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach." (He has also pointed out that Lincoln was a late and reluctant opponent of slavery.) So...Ron Paul has a classic Libertarian view of history - which strikes me as a tad simplistic.

Judith Ellis said...

Is it simplistic or too rational--perhaps to a moral fault? Slavery wasn't about the superiority of a race but the profitability of free labor, such labor that built great nations for centuries. Consider Egypt.

While Paul's point does not directly address the moral essence of freedom, perhaps it seeks to address the economic dilemma and by so doing free slaves by any means necessary. I remember the Civil War statement from the campaign and saw Ron Paul signs among the Washington Tea Party too.

But let me assure you if slaves could have been so freed, even considering the means by which their freedom came, they would have gladly taken it. ANYTHING would have better been than their current plight. But the Quakers, for me, morally had it best. William Lloyd Garrison has been a hero of mine since elementary school.

It is widely believed that the Civil War was not about freeing slaves, many of our forefathers in the north had slaves. The Civil War it was believed was about saving the Union. Again, by any means necessary would have worked for the slaves. ANY means would have been better than the countless lynchings, senseless brutality and unbearable suffering the slaves (men, women and children) faced daily.

Judith Ellis said...

This discussion is reminiscent in a very basic way to the conversation on health care, although not by means in degree, breadth or depth. Everybody knows it’s wrong to profit unjustly from illness and death (I’m not talking about funeral homes and cemeteries and the like) but yet compromises have to be made considering profit and ideology, based on the system in place and the allowance of lobbyists to deter morality. Everybody knows that money should not be the distinguishing point of whether one lives or dies, but yet compromises have to be made considering profit and ideology based on the system in place and the allowance of lobbyists to deter morality. Decisions are often not largely righteous or moral. Compromise is often the name of this unrighteous game.