The Road to Prosperity: Final Thoughts

This is my last entry for The Road to Prosperity,  and this is a difficult one.  The last three chapters of the book were very good and it’s tough for me to pick one topic to write about.  I am very passionate about school  choice, and the chapter on school choice contains a wealth of information in it.  Mr. Toomey didn’t touch on the uphill battle the DC School choice program is facing, but it is a case study that could have been used in this chapter.  The story is not what the main stream media like to portray in our world.  Instead, it’s a story of  conservatives fighting for the rights of minorities while Democrats fight against minorities sending their children to the same schools as elected Democrats send theirs.  The Heritage Foundation has done some great work in this area, and has some very interesting videos defending the school choice program in DC.

I also thought the chapter on the Crash of 2008 was very informative.  I thought the following quote was interesting enough I highlighted it my copy.  This is in the section where Mr. Toomey describes how Democratic leaders were trying to protect Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae:

In 2003, Barney Frank fought off efforts to impose tougher regulations on the GSE’s {such as Freddie and Fannie} declaring, “I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC and OTS.  I want  to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation toward subsidized housing”  On September 7, 2008, the U. S. government nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a historic $200 billion bailout.  Barney Frank blamed the financial crisis on private markets.

And this brings up what is probably the most important point:  Conservatives must learn their history.  One of the first books we read as part of the book notes project was Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism.  One of the themes to Mr. Goldberg’s book was that today’s liberals have forgotten their history, and where their movement came from.  We conservatives have done the same thing.  Liberals have forgotten their history, and either don’t recognize the problems with the progressive movement, or don’t recognize the mistakes progressives have made in the past.  We conservatives have forgotten much of our history, and have forgotten the rebuttals to much of today’s progressive movement.  As Mr. Toomey points out near the end of his book:

Particularly frustrating are the obvious parallels to the mistakes made by Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  Of the five major blunders (aside from the monetary policy errors) that worsened the Great Depression — burdensome regulation; excessive federal spending; tax hikes; diminishing labor flexibility; and protectionism — the current president and Congress seem inclined to repeat them all.

We as conservatives need to learn our history, and we need to learn to articulate the failures of the past and put them in the context of today.  Hoover and Roosevelt made many of the mistakes that President Obama and President Bush have made, not to mention the disasters of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.  We need to learn to point to the failures of these policies.  President Obama  appears to be an experimenter much like Roosevelt.  However, we know the dangers this brings, and we need to learn to point those out to the voters so we and the American public don’t repeat them.