We have the most productive workers in the world, the president said.
But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people.Yeah, and I wonder why that is. Greedy bankers, perhaps?
For a while, the president continued, "credit cards and home equity loans" papered over the harsh reality.
But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them, or even sometimes understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets -- and huge bonuses -- made with other people’s money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all.Yes. How come that mortgages got to people that couldn't afford them? Banks selling off the risk? How come? Regulators asleep at the switch? Greedy bankers again? Or could it be Democratic politicians bullying bankers into issuing mortgages to people that didn't have a prayer of servicing them?
It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we’re still fighting to recover.The question is: what do we do about it? Some people, the president said, want to go back to the tried and failed.
And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.Really Mr. President? I guess that would be liberals, since liberals believe that people should free themselves from rules and do their own creative thing, challenging society. Right?
But the president doesn't agree with his liberal cohorts. He wants us all to obey the same rules.
I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.So that means that the president utterly deplores all the legislation that creates special rules for special people, all the way from affirmation action and diversity to tax breaks for the rich to benefit scams for the poor.
Not exactly. The president is concerned that some people want to solve the wholw thing by cutting taxes and regulations and letting the market take care of it, relying on "our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government."
But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.So we've got to "up our game." Oh good. Now comes the brilliant ideas to renew America.
- Education. "It starts by making education a national mission -- a national mission."
- Science and Reseach, Training. "we also need a world-class commitment to science and research, the next generation of high-tech manufacturing. Our factories and our workers shouldn’t be idle. We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training at community colleges so they can learn how to make wind turbines and semiconductors and high-powered batteries."
- Infrastructure. We "should be rebuilding our roads and our bridges, laying down faster railroads and broadband, modernizing our schools".
Of course, these wonderful things don't come free, the president explained.
Of course, those productive investments cost money. They’re not free. And so we’ve also paid for these investments by asking everybody to do their fair share... I know that many of our wealthiest citizens would agree to contribute a little more if it meant reducing the deficit and strengthening the economy that made their success possible.So all of this song and dance comes down to throwing more money at education, as if we haven't been doing it for the last half century, for very little return. And throwing money at research, as if that hasn't become impossibly corrupted by liberal pet projects in environment and climate. And community colleges. Well, everyone's in favor of that. But we already spend a ton of money on them.
It's true. The wealthiest citizens would agree to pay more. If they thought that the extra money would make a dime's worth of difference.
Mr. President, you proposal is simple. Take more money from the rich so you can pump up the higher-education bubble and send money to all the Democratic voters in the education blob. And send more money to union construction workers to build a few projects in ten years after your environmental friends have delayed the projects with their deep concern for the environment.
Meanwhile Medicare is going broke, Mr. President. How about that?
The truth is that you don't understand the market economy and you don't want to. When we eevil capitalists say "let the market decide" we are not saying that it is everyone for themselves. We are saying that the market is a social and economic system that naturally directs resources at the most urgent needs of the consumers. Why? Because that's there the money is.
But the market gets into real trouble when government subsidizes its pet projects and government credit policies distort it. You know, like in housing with Fannie and Freddie, and in education with student loans that go into buffing up university fees, bureaucracies, and recreational facilities.
Frankly, Mr. President I am glad that you are raising the class warfare issue and proposing tax increases to pay for stupid education expansion and infrastructure. Because it is time that we had a national conversation on this. With any luck, the American people will decide that they are fed up to the back teeth with empty promises about education and infrastructure and vote for the free market.
Because there is one thing for sure. When government spends money, then Wall Street stands at the head of the line for handouts. Why? Because government needs Wall Street to sell the debt.
Then, of course, politicians like you can assess those Wall Street honchos for political contributions, just like you did so expertly in 2008.