Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Friend Tom returns

He is having some "issues" with access. The following comment is his and an interesting point of discussion.

8 comments:

Jim G. said...

Tom R. said...
Speaking of philosphical, I submit the following for your collective consideration:

WHEN THE PHILOSPHICAL MEETS THE PRACTICAL


Throughout much of my time in politics, I have been described as too philosophical, too focused on fundamental values and principles. People have gone out of their way to comment upon how well I articulate my philosophical principles, but always end their comments with, “But, we need someone who is practical, someone who can do what is necessary.” Underlying this comment is the belief that that which is principled and right is not also necessary and good. I always rejected that misguided belief and stuck to believing that the philosophical and the practical are one in the same, advocating both the right and the good.

Today, the pundits tell us that America stands at a crossroads. The 2008 Presidential Election is a crossroads election, the struggling economy is at a crossroads, our position as a world leader is at a crossroads. Everywhere one turns, one is reminded of this crossroads or that crossroads, this choice or that choice, this candidate or that candidate, this direction or that direction.

I agree. America is at a crossroads. The new twist is that, for the first time in my adult life, most Americans recognize that the country is at the crossroads where the philosophical and the practical intersect, where doing what is right and principled is the very same thing as doing what is necessary and good.

Philosophically, I have always advocated and fought for a limit on government spending. Now, limited government spending is the only practical way to save the financial future of this country and, maybe, the world. Philosophically, I have always urged that government activities be restrained and limited to just those things that are legitimate functions of government. Today, restoring government to its proper roles is the only practical way to restore our fiscal and financial health. Philosophically, I have always espoused minimal government interference in the free markets. In 2008, government interference has taken on monstrous and deadly dimensions that must be reversed if we are to survive economically.

This is no time for half-measures or, even worse, more of the same. Now is the time, perhaps the last time that will be afforded this generation, to make the philosphically correct, the practically necessary and the right decisions.

America possesses the finest system of government ever devised by man. It has the people, resources, know-how and will to compete and thrive in virtually every environment. What it can not do, however, is survive in the artificial economic world it has created for itself. No country can and no country will.

Our entire economic model is a fraud, based upon unsound principles and artificial government intervention. The government perverted the housing market by both requiring and encouraging risky loans, and now all of us are being required to pay the price. A $700 billion bailout, direct government investments in our nation’s banks, government loans to giant insurance companies and all that is still to come are only the beginning, overt layers of the price tag which the American taxpayers are being forced to cover. All of this money which our leaders so cavalierly throw at the problem they created in the first place does not exist; it must be both printed and borrowed by the government. The weakening of the dollar and inflation are the inevitable results.

And, this newest example of government largess is just a microcosm of how our government has done its job the past many decades. Our economy is built on a house-of-cards that is ready to crumble. Our national debt, even before these latest deficit expenditures, is $10.5 trillion, and has increased at a rate of over $3.8 billion every day this past year. Again, the only way our government can afford to operate is to print and borrow money. Both are egregious violations of our leaders’ sacred responsibilities and lead, not to be over-repetitive, to a weakening of the dollar and inflation. With each borrowed dollar your government spends, the dollars you earn, save and spend become worth less. With each new dollar printed by our government, your existing dollars lose purchasing power.

Each of us is the victim; each of us is the loser. And, the most remarkable aspect of all of this is that each of us know it. We instinctively and intrinsically know and understand that we are robbing our future to maintain our present. We instinctively and intrinsically know and understand that this pattern of national behavior can not continue. We instinctively and intrinsically know and understand, not only that our current course of conduct is unsustainable, but that it will, eventually, end in financial collapse and ruin that will make the Great Depression pale in comparison. Thus, each of us knows and understands, both philosophically and practically, that we must stop. We must stop the deficit spending; we must stop the market interventions; we must stop the bailouts.

Still, and most alarming of all, we do nothing. We seem content to accept the even-still inflated values of our homes, stock portfolios, retirement accounts and, even, our salaries. We seem content to hope that the collapse comes after we are dead and gone, apparently guilt-free over the economic mess we are intentionally and unabashedly handing our children and grandchildren, as well as their children and grandchildren. We are seemingly content to pass the cost of our misdeeds on to the next generations while wrapping ourselves in a sordid security blanket of “I got mine.”

We do nothing. We continue to elect men and women to Congress who lack the simple fiscal discipline to say “NO.” We continue to re-elect men and women to Congress who bribe us with our own money by sending a little pork here, granting an entitlement there, providing a tax a incentive over here, etc ad nauseum. This is not a partisan indictment; men and women of both parties, with a few, rare exceptions, are equally guilty. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Thus, I return to where I began: the philosophical and the practical have met. If we are to survive, we must restore the sacred and time-proven principles of a balanced budget, a restrained and limited government, and no governmental intervention in the market place. This is the only practical way left to us. It is also the right way, and, quite frankly, always has been.

Wenzel said...

A brilliant and insightful essay. Who wrote it?

Tom R. said...

I did. And, thank you.

Jim G. said...

He is my other patient Tom, Tom. He is a (gasp) lawyer and former Mesa city councilman and a Libertarian. They seem to hate everyone, putting the Conservative and Liberals in the same group over the war and its prosecution, despite the fact that the other side does not oppose the war for the same reason (they just hate all things Bush) and economically we are brethren.

I also take issue with the following paragraph from his Manifesto, populism sprouts.

Still, and most alarming of all, we do nothing. We seem content to accept the even-still inflated values of our homes, stock portfolios, retirement accounts and, even, our salaries

Tom R. said...

Hate is such a strong word, Jim. Plus, it is inaccurate, at least the way the rest of your comment suggests. So, believe it or not, I offer a clarification of previously clarified beliefs.

I am opposed to the war because it will not lead to enhanced national security for us and will fail in its misguided nation-building scheme. Why others oppose it is of no interest to me except for the pressure they create to abandon this futile and unworthy war.

Yes, Jim and I agree on the economic issues, but the reason I stray from what used to be my natural home (the Republican Party) is that Republicans do not live up to the economic principles they espouse and that Jim and I share. Their economic hypocrisy is just as hard to stomach, if not more so, than OB's overt socialism.

Thus, when faced with a choice between an overt socialist and a man with no philosophy at all, except whatever he believes will benefit him, I just don't give a damn.

(After the Board of Supervisors voted to impose a sales tax to build the baseball stadium, which I voted against, and major league baseball was deciding whether to grant Colangelo a franchise, I had a button printed that read, "I don't know; I don't care; and it doesn't matter." So it is with this election).

Jim G. said...

Hate is a great word. This is after all a political blog "not for the faint hearted".

And beyond the war, you are similar to true Republican views (read conservative). Granted they FU, but I hope we can now find our way. Having said that, it does not make sense, to at least me, to equivocate between a party which a portion FU (many objected) and a party which has as its stated goal, the economic redistribution and favoritism which was the FU of the Republicans.

Tom R. said...

Does honesty about intentions count for nothing? Doesn't the Republican Party, at some point, actually have to walk the walk?

If I really thought John McCain as President and the Republican minority in Congress would fight for their avowed fiscally conservative principles, and actually steer the vehicle of state down a different path, not just on the other side of the white line with the same destination, I might be able to agree with you. But, where is the evidence that McCain (who wants to tax employee health care insurance benefits paid by employers, cited as just one example) and the Republicans in Congress (who, after all, are the same ones who have been there for the past many, many years), will really be any different once in power this time. They won't.

Fundamentally different types of people need to be elected if fundamnetal change in the direction we jointly believe is right is ever going to happen. So, in my estimation, you are perpetuating the status quo by choosing among only these two men. And, by doing so, you are hurting the chances of real reform in the long run.

(You may not believe some values are still over-inflated, but you must agree that, by and large, the American people have had, and continue to have, a head in the sand approach. How else can you explain the over 90% return rate for Congressmen who seek reelection?)

Short question: when is enough enough? Short answer: now!

Mark R. said...

So how are we going to fix this without it totally blowing apart when Barry comes in with the same economic plans that deepened the Great Depression?

Things can get a lot worse and if "Change" means all we will have left is the change in our pockets than saying a "pox on all of your houses" is not a satisfactory answer.