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Friday, September 19, 2008

Fiddling While the Free Market Burns: Onward to the Great Crash of 2008

In another brilliant commentary, titled "Fiddling while Rome Burns" (Sept. 16), NPR's Daniel Schorr dissected the absurdity of so much of the current political campaign:
Rome in its decline must have been like this, glorying in its circuses and gladiators even with the Visigoths at the gates, and so now our southern cities are lashed by hurricanes and in the North great temples of capitalism crumble and our aspirants for the Presidency have been debating issues like "lipstick on a pig." The rhythm of the campaign has been disturbed by the Wall Street meltdown . . . . But never mind--the struggle over who dissed whom, who first spoke about lipstick on a pig goes merrily on--oblivious to the disasters and perils the nation faces.
Fortunately, since Schorr uttered these words, the seriousness of the developing financial crisis has finally seemed to bring the presidential debate down to real issues, although the McCain campaign's assault on all bastions of truth and evidence continues unabated....

We can at least be glad that the two men (US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke) overseeing many of the decisions guiding the government's response to the current crisis are not those running for President, nor the current President. For unlike the leaders of the Coolidge and Hoover administrations, and most of the Bush administration, both Paulson and Bernanke seem to be demonstrating they undertand the lessons of the 1929 Crash, and appreciate the supreme value of well-targeted and bold government action in a time of crisis. Let us hope they continue to demonstrate the wisdom of historical understanding, and that the rest of our federal leaders begin to restructure their thinking and policy action accordingly.

Otherwise, we may all soon be talking about the Great Crash of 2008.....

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