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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A few things, Arlen Spector, Econtalk

So I was stunned to hear that Arlen Spector was changing parties. I mean, Arlen, pardon if I refer to him in the familiar sense, has always been a moderate, and has always caved to the more rigorous party domination of the Republicans. So considering the disarray of the Republican party at the moment, the fights for dominance, the extremist influence, it should come as a matter of course that long time dissidents are defecting. I'd like to see Chuck Hagel and Charles Grassley make the jump too. How crazy would that be? Hagel votes with the Dems half the time anyway--to be fair I haven't looked at his voting record--that's my memory of some of the more important votes of the last term. It makes me wonder if there will be a few more defections. Honestly, I think this is the death knell for the extremists in the party. As they watch themselves get more and more relegated to the outskirts, some bright bulb will eventually manage to rein them in a bit more center. I don't know how Arlen will vote, really, I'm familiar with his work on the judiciary committee, and though he was wishywashy, he was never a chest thumping, bravado spewing Republathug. Regardless, I wonder if Rahm, the Machine, Emmanual had anything to do with it. He's got bigger fish to fry now, it's true, but this was part of his old job for sure.

Econ Talk. Man this program pisses me off sometimes. I know I'm no economist, and am not doing as well as I'd like to in Accounting, but the policies and the history that they espouse seem totally wrong. So I guess traditional economists are now viewing themselves as Libertarians. I have to give the party props, they and the greens manage to keep themselves alive in a two party system through sheer effort of will. But the Libertarians have this idea that freedom is a virtue so indelible that to stymie it in anyway spells the doom of society at large. To the good folk at Econtalk, the economy melt down of 2008 occurred not because of a lack of regulation but because of a plethora of bad regulation. Well, how different is that from me saying it wasn't bad regulation, it was de-regulation. We're talking about the same acts, the same bills afterall--the repeal of Glass-Steagal, SOX and the PSLRA. It's all a question of perspective, and from my perspective, the idea that perfect freedom creates perfect society is an idiot's paradise. The freedom to let the bigger fish eat the little fish, and vice versa still ends with a whole lot of fish getting eaten. Maybe that's nature, and maybe that has to happen to some extent. But the purpose, to me, of liberalism is to provide a social safety net. Because it's kind, because it's the right thing to do. And if that brings the whole society a few notches, so what? What is the bar? What are we being measured by? Our success? How would you even measure that, in terms of money? Not only would that be inaccurate, it would be dishonest. No. I think we are measured by our humanity. By the capacity within all of us to sacrifice some good for our common man. And that comes with a recognition that none of us are perfect. My GF hates that I don't volunteer or donate my time to anyone. She's right, she's a better person than I am. But, I'd like to think that at least my heart's in the right place.

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