Gee wilikers! Who woulda ever thunk it? The dichotomy of the current economic situation is simply mind-boggling.
Today we are inundated with legions of right-wing 'financial experts' viciously criticizing the US's bailouts and 'stimulus bills'. Besides the obvious questions about where were these people when the Republican leadership was busily train-wrecking the economy, I am wondering how they've suddenly become such gurus today - at least unto themselves. No one else is fooled fortunately.
It's a lot like a gang of bankrupts providing financial advice to those not yet so afflicted. I'm tempted to think it's simple jealousy, but realize it is only rank and rancid sour grapes.
But the facts are this: The 'Great Depression' beginning with the crash of '29 is attributed to the removal of most of the regulations and controls over banks and other financial institutions instituted by three successive Republican administrations. The 'open market economy' touted by Republican financial 'conservatives' and the laissez-faire attitudes championed by them, and passed under their control of Congress, resulted in a wildly speculative economy and the crash which followed.
In the words of economist Irving Fisher, "Easy money is the great cause of over-borrowing. When an investor thinks he can make over 100 per cent per annum by borrowing at 6 per cent, he will be tempted to borrow, and to invest or speculate with the borrowed money. This was a prime cause leading to the over-indebtedness of 1929. Inventions and technological improvements created wonderful investment opportunities, and so caused big debts."
Besides the fact the Republican claim of 'conservative', at least in the financial sense, was and is in 180 degree opposition to reality, the uncontrolled market economy was a stark and utter failure. After the '29 crash, new controls were instituted by a chastened Congress, and some old controls were re-introduced. But it took over ten years and a world war - brought on partly by the resulting world-wide depression - for economies to recover. The damage was immeasurable and incalculable human suffering occurred.
And yet, to paraphrase an old biblical maxim, it appears '"the greedy have ye always with you". The self-labeled 'conservatives' never ceased in their efforts to alter the situation to fit their doctrine and in their favor - which boiled down to its essence which seems to be, 'The greatest good for the richest few'. It took them over seventy years, but at last they succeeded with the Bush II administrations and Republican control of both houses of Congress.
In a virtual repeat of the Republican administrations of the 1920's, Republicans under GW Bush managed a repeat of the removal of most regulations and controls over the financial affairs on the country. And, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it is 'déjà vu all over again'; A virtual repeat of the great Depression, only partly ameliorated so far by the emergency bailouts and stimulus bills. It remains to be seen whether all this will work.
And again, in a virtual repeat of history, a charismatic Democratic president is being called upon for rescue. Let us hope he is up to the job.
Will we learn this time? Will we ever allow this to happen again?