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  • dawnisbreaking dawnisbreaking Apr 1, 2008 10:23 PM Flag

    Alleviating Lib Boredom Through Change

    Extract from 1/30/08 talk "Limited Government: Are the Good Times Really Over" by Charles R. Kesler, Prof of Govt at Claremont McKenna College

    "Of all the presidential contenders' slogans this year, Barack Obama's have been the most interesting. His campaign creed is: 'Yes, we can.' To which any reasonable person would ask: 'Can what?' The answer, of course, is: 'Hope.' But, again, a reasonable person might ask: 'Hope for what?' To which the answer confidently comes back from the Obama campaign: 'For change.' Indeed Obama's signs say: 'Change We Can Believe In,' as opposed, one supposes, to the unbelievable changes. But the elementary problem with this--which any student of logic might raise--is that change can be for the better or for the worse.

    "Democrats in general, I would submit, confuse change with improvement.... They ask Americans to embrace change for its own sake, in the faith that history is governed by the law of progress, which guarantees that change is almost always an improvement. The ability to bring about historical change, then, becomes the highest mark of the liberal leader. Thus Hillary Clinton quickly joined Obama on the change bandwagon. Her initial claim of 'experience' sounded in retrospect a bit too boring--indeed, almost Republican in its plainness. So 'Ready on Day One' signs morphed into 'Ready for Change.'"

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    • Dawn,

      I understand you and agree that change for change sake is a fools errand. Fair enough, and for some this is just a partisan exercise. I am not conservative or liberal, but both depending on the subject or issue at hand.

      Concerning the changes NEEDED, in my humble opinion:
      1. A solution to the Iraq war that can extract the US military as quickly as possible and a national realization that the "foreign interventionist mentality" that plagues US foreign policy is damaging to the nation as well as it's worldwide interests. Further the terrorists responsible for Sept 11 should be tracked down and killed or captured and a focus placed on the security of the nation from an intelligence and law enforcement standpoint.
      2. A healthcare solution that will provide for full, affordable and continual coverage for all Americans.
      3. Retirement support so that Social Security will be protected.
      4. A national budget plan to pay down the disgusting levels of debt that we will give to our descendants.
      5. An environmental plan that will support transitions to new energy technologies and steadily end our dependence on oil as well as provide reductions in pollutants damaging to the environment.

      Those are starters. As for the cost...well let's just say that if we had borrowed the forecasted $3-5 trillion dollars forecasted to be spent on Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the aftermath, and invested instead on infrastructure, preventive health-care, education, and energy/environment, the US would be reaping the payouts for generations instead of clawing for ways to repay low-return debt.


    • Dog, a few gratuitous thoughts:

      The initial post on this thread parodies the emptiness of the yearning for "change" presently being exploited by hill & Sen Obama.

      Things are ALWAYS changing. It will happen whether or not we want it or try to participate in it. It will happen without regard to who is our next President. One problem is some (most?) folks ALWAYS want change, without realizing they may already be at a plateau of lifetime happiness and any change must therefore be detrimental.

      It is also a human condition to inject excitement (but not too much) and challenge (again, not too much)--boredom is truly feared.

      Sometimes boredom is good, look at Warren Buffets investments for example, seems to love great, steady gains, doesn't get too excited with temporary-flash-in-the-pan performance. How does that track with those of us who are in-out...never satisfied with good, always seeking better/best, and often getting worse/worst(?)

      I often wonder if the "change" proponents are actually saying they do not know how to take control of their lives, which are knawingly unsatisfactory, and so feel ANY difference must be for the better.

      If so, it seems a bit sad--


    • Editorial
      Fear of Regulating

      To understand the White House’s blueprint for regulating the financial markets, start with what the Bush administration did not do. It did not offer America a plan to respond to the ongoing credit crisis or to the Federal Reserve’s dramatic intervention to prevent the collapse of Bear Stearns. It certainly did not provide a roadmap for avoiding this sort of meltdown in the future.

      The Fed’s role in the Bear debacle has put taxpayers at risk of having to shoulder big losses, but the administration’s so-called regulatory reform does not address what the Bear mess made obvious: if something goes badly wrong in under-regulated or unregulated corners of the financial markets, it could topple the whole system.

      In fact, the blueprint was mostly developed before the current financial crisis and accordingly comes across as outdated. The message of the administration’s proposals is that the markets will — and should — return to where they were before the near-collapse of Bear Stearns. It’s doubtful whether many of its suggested policies would have been apt even in that earlier context. It’s indisputable that they are inapt now.

      It will be up to Congress — and the next administration — to create the necessary new rules for 21st-century financial markets. These include requirements that firms engaged in risky financial behavior maintain large amounts of high-quality capital, other limits on borrowed money and complex derivatives and incentives for bankers’ pay that hold them accountable for losses.

      There may be nuggets in the administration’s blueprint that would be worth saving for that serious work. The proposal for a regulator whose authority is defined by the type of financial product, rather than by industry, could benefit consumers and investors — if the regulator has the power to enforce standards. But as Congress moves forward with its investigations of the credit crisis, it’s important for lawmakers and the public to realize that the administration’s ideas are fundamentally flawed.

      Its proposals are premised on the notion that market discipline is the most effective tool to limit risks to the financial system. Current events show how absurd that is. Discipline was utterly lacking as today’s problems were being created. In the absence of rules — and regulators who are willing and empowered to enforce them — market discipline is a fantasy.

      Sure enough, the Bush blueprint is weakest when it comes to regulation of the financial system beyond banks. One key proposal would allow the Fed to gather more information from such entities as Wall Street firms, hedge funds and private equity partnerships, but it could take action only if overall financial stability was threatened. That would institutionalize the Fed’s role as bystander while bubbles inflate and crisis manager when they burst. That’s a recipe for more crises. Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, told Congress on Wednesday that broader reach would have to be accompanied by “adequate powers, authorities, expertise and so on.”

      It’s probably useless to hope for anything better from Bush administration officials. They are complicit in the credit crisis because the anti-regulatory ethos and practices of the administration fostered the conditions for the debacle. It’s difficult to solve problems of one’s own making and impossible to respond effectively if you don’t first face up to your role in causing them. The administration apparently prefers to perpetuate the myth of self-policing, self-correcting global free markets, rather than own up to the fatal flaws that are now so evident in that myth.

      In the end, Mr. Bush’s regulatory blueprint will allow him to leave office with that ideology in tact — in his mind at least. The real work will be left to others.


      • 2 Replies to azalphainvestor
      • How can Govt have a blueprint for solving this mess? They have been creating it since the early '90s. The same people in policy positions, Dems and Reps, aren't capable of correcting what they desired and achieved. This includes Bernanke, Greenspan, Paulson, Frank, Clintons, Rubin, etc. who all profited either monetarily, intellectual standing, accumulation of power or influential jobs. We just got another partisan (read: useless) post from Alpha on a subject that should engage serious discussion, not partisan rockthrowing.

    • FIVE STARS *****

      >>it's almost funny (if it weren't so serious a subject)

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