Max’s View: A New Pragmatism
by Max Biddle
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The new year brings a change in America not seen since the great depression. In Washington our leaders are faced with a set of disasters that their own failures have brought about. The actions of Wall Street financial institutions, banking, credit, and other financial entities, has been like a visit to Alice in Wonderland. We realize that there was little coordination, intelligent planning or understanding of the economy as there was at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
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If it weren’t so tragic, one could compare the beginning of the Reagan years of uncontrolled spending, deregulation, greed, and bankrupting of the nation like following the White Rabbit down the hole into chaos.
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The economic system we in the U.S. have been trying to sell the rest of the world over the past few decades has proven to be the house of cards ruled over by the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland. I remember when President Jimmy Carter warned us of our lack of moral compass, our dependence on foreign oil, and the need to address our priorities with reason. His call to common sense went unheeded .
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We had to choose, in the 1980s, between responsible policies, or a philosophy of you can have it all - and you don’t have to pay for it. In the 80’s we sank all our assets into the military industrial complex. We deregulated our economy, which led to the savings and loan debacle, then to Enron. Wall Street became a massive Las Vegas on the East Coast. Wall Street and Congress both stood by while con-artists, Ponzi schemers and manipulators became the policy makers of our economy.
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With a new administration coming to power, will this new group have the courage to stand up to those who committed these acts of bad judgment and acts of criminality? Will President Obama have the fortitude to stand up to the former Clinton advisors who were just as culpable? Already he has appointed past Clinton advisors who are part of the original problems they helped promote. And will the Republican Party, as it loses power, stop trying to destroy the country on its way out?
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In California, Senator Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg outlined in his inaugural address a program that offers real progress. But until the state constitution changes it’s required 2/3 vote to pass a budget, nothing will get done when a
handful of Legislatures can block the majority will.
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Will Governor Schwarzenegger continue trying to solve our budget problems on the back of the poor? Or will he seek real reform and seek tax increases where possible?
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We have seen the failure of Communism and Capitalism to solve the world’s economic problems over the last century. Both systems failed to solve poverty or
provide a distribution system that reached the world’s populations. It’s time to take a fresh look at a new economic model. One that will provide a solid safety-net and still allow the innovation of individual initiative that will keep alive a genuine competitive free market system. We have seen the failure of state controlled economies and deregulated capitalism. It’s time for ideologues to step aside and let economic pragmatism reign free.