Just popping in because I’ve been observing this financial crisis closely, and I would like to share a few observation I have made.
First, I should ntoe that I am opposed to the bailout on multiple grounds eludicated by many commenters such as William Kristol. Not just simple free-market orthodoxy, but the fact that it is frankly unfair, beneficial to people at the top of the economy while costing those at the bottom, and constitutes a huge expansion of state power, as noted by David Brooks.
What interests me though is that it seems to be more eagerly embraced by Democrats than by Republicans. Moreover, the Democrats are the first to argue for the necessity of it. Not, interestingly, on the grounds of fairness, social justice, or egalitarian principles, as you might think. But simply because it constitutes an expansion of government power, and provides an opportunity for them to claim that free markets don’t work.
In other words, they are declaring (and to a certain extent celebrating), what they see as the end of “free markets”, not because it means an era of equality or justice, but because it means the era of “Big Government” is back. Even though it happens to be returning in the form of a massivly INequitable and ANTIprogressive transfer of wealth from taxpeyers to elite corporate bankers.
That pretty much shows where their priorities lie. State power first. We’ll get to all that social justice stuff later.
A second thing that drew my attention was Barack Obama’s comment that we need to “fire the last 28 years of trickle down economics” (or something to that effect – paraphrasing). That’s interesting because the Reagan era, which he is referring to, includes two of the most prosperous decades of the 20th century. Moreover it implies he’d like to roll back the clock on the entire Reagan program of free markets and return to, what? The 70s? (!!)
Barack Obama is a blank slate, and I’m not, even remotely, supportive of some of the disinformation out about him. But I do think that it is legitimate to try to understand where Obama’s basic philosophical principles lie, and now, on top of the Ayers link, he’s suggesting that the Reagan era be rolled back and we return to the 70s. Like that was such a great time. Well maybe it was a great time for wacked out black libertationists and socialist radicals, but not for the majority of Americans.
What struck me as odd is that Obama is often careful to moderate his speeches to appeal to centrists. Never advocate anything too extreme. In this case, however, it seems like he’s caught the same vibe as the people who are eagerly declaring the death-knell of capitalism, the people from the 70s who hated the Reagan era and want to go back there.