I’m not really sure what to make of this “economic crisis” we’re apparently in. On the one hand, it is rather unnerving to watch a number of banks give up the ghost, including Washington Mutual (based right here in Seattle), but on the other hand, it doesn’t seem to be impacting me at all. Sure, I’m having a hard time getting a job, but, considering my past luck in procuring employment, that’s not surprising in the least.
It’s an interesting coincidence that I’m taking a history course right now that’s dealing with the economic situation of the 1930s, including the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. There were numerous bank failures and credit problems during that time period, just as there are now. It’s a bit eerie, but I have noticed that the proposed solutions are nothing like FDR’s solutions. Of course, the situation today isn’t nearly as dire (unemployment is still around 6%, not the whopping 25+% of the early thirties), but I have yet to hear any decent explanation of the bailout that just died in Congress. Why $700 billion? What would that money be used for? What good would that do? No one is really telling. Contrast that to FDR’s fireside chats over the radio, where he explained to the American public in straightforward terms what the government was doing to deal with the depression. President Bush’s recent speech about the economy wasn’t exactly informative or reassuring, even if he did avoid using the word “depression”.
The thing to remember through all of this, though, is that self-regulation by corporations (even banks) is not necessarily a bad thing, just as regulation by the federal government isn’t necessarily a good thing. I don’t know how this situation will be resolved, but I know that more government interference in the market is not the right answer. After all, the Great Depression didn’t end because of the New Deal. For better or for worse, it came to an end due to the onset of World War 2, when industry picked up to improve the U.S. military. Hopefully we won’t need any such thing this time around.
The Bush Administration isn’t especially known for playing by the rules. However, the most egregious abuse of power yet has to be the legal waivers the government is using to bypass more than 30 federal, state, and local laws preventing the Mexican-United States border fence from being completed. Until now, the government has mostly been stopped by landowners unwilling to allow the government to build on their property. Turns out, the government doesn’t need their permission. Eminent domain at its worst…
Continue reading ‘Abuse of power’
The current administration’s taste for torture bothers me. For a country that claims to be so morally superior to so-called “rogue” states like the former Iraq or Iran, condoning secretive prisons, abductions of foreign nationals who might be terrorists, and water boarding as an interrogation technique are things that one would expect to find in a vicious military dictatorship with no respect for human dignity or life.
A country that claims to be better than its enemies doesn’t employ the same tactics its enemies use.
Isn’t it ironic (in the bad way) that the United States government condemns dictators for killing or torturing their own citizens yet has no qualms about throwing people into that legal black hole called Guantanamo Bay? Maybe it’s because they aren’t always American citizens. I suppose it’s perfectly fine to torture Pakistanis or Saudis, as long as you don’t touch WASPs. Of course, there’s still nothing right about that. It’s not about who you torture (er, “interrogate”). It’s the torturing in general. Isn’t America above that sort of thing? I was led to believe that we were better than the terrorists. Better than Saddam. Better than Islamic fundamentalists who kidnap journalists and behead them while the Internet is watching. Isn’t that the popular line used by the current administration? We’re the good guys, right?
Good guys don’t torture. Secret prisons and abductions are a characteristic of fascist governments. I don’t care what the government says: I am in no way safer because some innocent man from Afghanistan was tortured until he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. We’re trading the threat of terrorists bombing our cities for the threat of our own government kidnapping us while we sleep because we used the words “anthrax” and “bomb” in an email to a friend in Russia. (“Hey man, that Anthrax concert was the bomb!”)
I honestly can’t wait for 2008. We need a change away from secret orders issued behind a closed door. We need an open government that doesn’t hide things from Congress or the American people. We need a government that lives up to its claim to be the good guys.