Many people believe that the most moral thing a person can do is to help other people. This line of reasoning is common in most theological systems as well as it being the general sentiment of people in this nation as a whole. I don’t disagree with this, but I think where I part ways from most is what that represents.
To me, the highest moral is to give people the freedom to succeed or fail solely based on their own abilities. To allow them to achieve as much as they can based on their own resources sounds callous to some, and I can see why. After all, not everyone will succeed, so why not provide some kind of safety net?
First, the risk of failure is what motivates some people to push as hard as possible towards success. The idea that there is no safety net to catch them pushes them forward with a “there is no tomorrow” attitude. That attitude makes them more determined to succeed than ever, and a safety net would ruin that very thing that helps them.
Next, the idea of a safety net infuses failure into the hearts and minds of many people. Failure happens, but it is not something we should be completely accepting of. While doors shouldn’t automatically close to those who have failed at something, society does more good for people if they treat failure as it is rather than pretending that there’s no harm at all in it. There is. You failed. We’ve all done it, but most of us felt shame in that failure, as we should have. I did, and it’s helped push me to achieve as much as possible. I’m not alone. Many people I’ve spoken with through the years have shared a similar story with me.
Given his all but certain entrance in the Republican presidential primary, you’d think that Newt Gingrich would be shifting to the right on economic issues. He’s not. In fact, he recently told a reporter during a press conference that he doesn’t regret expanding Medicare, an entitlement already projected to have trillions in unfunded liabilities over the several decades, by supporting and lobbying for passage of prescription drug benefit - Medicare Part D - in 2003:
At a press conference on Friday, CNSNews.com asked Gingrich, “You were a prominent supporter of the Medicare prescription drug plan that President Bush signed into law in 2003. The Medicare trustees now say that plan is $7.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. Do you regret your support for the plan looking back?”
“No,” said Gingrich. “I think that we—I mean, I am for dramatic reform of Medicare. I chaired the Medicare reform task force which saved it in 1996 when the trustees said it was going to go broke, and we passed changes which enabled them to say that we had postponed any problem for well over a decade.
Here is the video with Gingrich’s full comments:
Here’s your “no sh*t” moment of the day. The TARP “watchdog” says that the bailouts have made “too big to fail” part of public policy:
The watchdog for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) issued its final verdict on the bailouts Wednesday in a mixed report that credited the program with stabilizing the economy but warned that a “too big to fail” mentality might persist.
But the group noted that the extraordinary intervention might have ingrained a “too big to fail” mentality in the financial markets, and perhaps in corporate America.
“By protecting very large banks from insolvency and collapse, the TARP also created moral hazard: Very large financial institutions may now rationally decide to take inflated risks because they expect that, if their gamble fails, taxpayers will bear the loss,” the report stated, adding that government efforts to save domestic auto manufacturers might have spread that hazard to non-financial institutions as well.
“The implication being that any company in America can receive a government backstop, so long as its collapse would cost enough jobs or deal enough economic damage,” the report stated.
Of course, they also claim the bailout was crucil to ensuring stability. Well, when you’re giving out taxpayer money to institutions that made poor decisions and would have otherwise failed, I’m sure they were relieved. But when the next economic troubles happen - whether it’s financial institutions or an auto industry producing cars no one wants, bailouts will be the policy of whatever administration is in power and Congress.
NBC Nightly News focusses on Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s efforts to find out where TARP money handed out to struggling banks ended up.
NOTE: There’s some subtle humor in this video when NBC uses Jay-Z’s song “Big Pimpin’” as background music when talking about Dubai.
On Fox News Dennis Kucinich discusses the use of bailout dollars by banks.
NOTE: Dennis Kucinich, who supported the stimulus bill and obviously isn’t opposed to government bailouts on ideological levels, opposed the bailout back in September because he viewed it as little more than corporate welfare. It appears that he has been vindicated.
Here’s a short clipshow of President-elect Obama’s excellent economic speech. I really like his candor about the deficit (which has been talked around for years) and his channelling Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous line about “fear itself.” Huffington Post has the text of the entire speech.
I think Time Magazine is a little pre-emptive in picking Obama as the person of the year. He hasn’t done anything yet. The criteria is as follows:
“The Person of the Year” is the person who most affected the news for better or worse.” They say the selection generates much debate among Time staffers but they all agree that the award is “not an honor.”
“It’s neutral,” said Richard Stengel, TIME’s Managing Editor. “It is a recognition of somebody’s affect on the world.”
I guess I’m looking for more substance than the rhetoric of “Hope and Change” which is all we currently have. I’d start by looking at Wikipedia’s 2008 for an alternative. I’m all for Obama being Time’s person of the year after he’s achieved something.