Friday, October 29, 2010

Election day countdown

That well-known blogger Glenn Locke recently posted a link to a column by Tom Friedman saying that he couldn't figure out why most people would want to vote Republican on Tuesday. I'm not sure that I want to go that far, but do wish to make a quick point on similar lines.

What are the two biggest non-political news stories of the past two and one-half years? I think we could argue that they were the economic meltdown and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the first, there are also sorts of reasons why that collapse happened. Certainly one of them, though, was that financial institutions took huge chances that had little hope of succeeding over the long term. And these institutions had gotten so big that further bankruptcies might have led to the collapse of much of the economic system. It took massive government action just to avoid a depression.

In the second, a large multinational corporation cut some corners and did not receive adequate check-ups from monitoring agencies. When something went bad, it really went bad. It's tough to say how much damage has been done to the Gulf, and whether it will ever be the same down there.

What lessons did the Tea Party and their kind take from those developments? If I'm reading the news correctly, it's that government is the problem, and that we have to leave big business alone in order to create more jobs and get out of this recession.

Wouldn't you think the reverse would be the case? Wouldn't you think, as a sideline observer, that there would be an outcry for more government regulation to prevent such activities from happening again?

I can understand people being scared because of the country's economic stress, what with unemployment and smaller nest eggs in the form of drops in housing values and retirement funds. But it's fascinating that some have jumped to conclusions that clash with what might be called conventional wisdom.

No comments: