Food for re-thought

The summary paragraph of a great column by Tom Friedman:

A dysfunctional political system is one that knows the right answers but can’t even discuss them rationally, let alone act on them, and one that devotes vastly more attention to cable TV preachers than to recommendations by its best scientists and engineers.

Here’s a link to Rising Above the Storm, the study Tom cites. There is a free download routine that requires giving ID information, though what you say is up to you.

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4 comments

  1. Mike Warot’s avatar

    We should tweak the 14th amendment to only apply to “natural persons”, excluding corporations from having rights.

    We need to get our banking sector back to it’s normal size of being less than 5% of the economy.

    We need to eliminate the income tax, and all of the distortions it causes, to be replaced in excise taxes on certain items and imports.

    We need to re-establish the fundamental rights of these United States, and down-size the role of the Federal government.

    Social security was a great idea, but it’s been sucked dry and is now a Ponzi scheme in it’s last days…. we need to figure out how to fund it properly, or phase it out.

    In 1960, 3 dimes got you a gallon of gasoline. Those same dimes still can, because they were money, in the real sense. The “Federal Reserve Note” that bought over 3 gallons a that time, buys a third of a gallon today.

  2. Patrick’s avatar

    Friedman’s suggestion that we listen to our scientists and engineers suggests that they aren’t subject to the same ideological passions as anyone else. see “Merchants of Doubt” for tragic example- (http://www.amazon.com/Merchants-Doubt-Handful-Scientists-Obscured/dp/1596916109)
    Still it would be a major improvement is more policy was generated by pragmatists who are rewarded for long term broad results.
    As long as our accounting is short term and solely individualized, to say nothing of based solely on growth based upon limited resources, the economy is a lemming like rush to a cliff.
    Without addressing the merit of the idea, I don’t understand how we get banking to be 5% of the economy without a strong regulatory mechanism, err government.

  3. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Strong regulation of banks is the only way to keep them honest. The have the right to create money out of thin air every time they make a loan… it’s a fair trade to insist they be tightly regulated in this money creation role.

  4. Josh Elliot’s avatar

    A few years ago, I may have been on the fence on Mike’s comments for stronger regulation in the banking industry. After working for the banking industry for a number of years and watching the books being audit by three separate entities, I would have said that it was regulated enough. I left banking in 2003 and was shocked to learn in 2007 that so many bad loans could be made under the current regulation.

    It’s unfortunate that businesses need babysitting, but when it comes to people getting bonuses for every loan that is closed, they do need strong regulation to keep their greed in check.

    Most people focus on how much money they will receive in the short term, and don’t realize that their greed biased underwriting will lead them to a job loss or lower income in the future.

    Just my real world experience from the banking industry.

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