November 20, 2008

I am waiting for an apology from conservatives

And not just for the last 8 years of the Bush administration. Not that there isn't much there. Today, a judge released 5 Algerians who were held in Gitmo for the last 6 years without charge and without cause. The judge said there was no evidence to support that these men were (originally charged with conspiring to blow up an American embassy--then charged with going to Afghanistan to fight against Americans) terrorists. Not that Bush Justice cared. Lock them up, throw the key, and pretend that the world isn't watching. Oh, and torture them while you have them locked up. We will sort out guilt and innocence after their torture drives them insane.

So, yeah, I am still mad about that. Those who assured me Bush was a man of God need to rethink that, and perhaps not say that ever again.

But this is not about Bush. This is about the blanket criticism that current conservatives have for all things government and all things liberal. Thanks to Rushbo and the idiots on Fox, "liberal" has become a curse word, and anything they do is supposed to be a failure and possibly socialism.

Driving to have lunch with Anglican, I noticed another bank I had previously not noticed. Add that one to two new ones here in Norman, and you have a lot of banks around town.

This observation led me to contemplate our economic situation and how much worse it might be. As I said, conservatives love to bash liberals for their government programs. That, of course, before all the big "free-market" business people lined up outside the Congress for their shot at a bailout--but hell, even during all this, the free-market fundamentalists still, in knee-jerk fashion, bash liberal programs. Phil Gramm, as far as I know, is still touting deregulation. Oh, and I think he believes flu shots are witch craft, and that leeches are the best cure for a cold.


But back to those banks. They keep functioning. In the 1930s, banks failed in huge numbers. Between 1931 and 1932, nearly 4,000 banks went under, taking with them savings, access to capital for farms, houses, and businesses. Entire communities saw their economic ability disappear. Families lost their lives, farms, homes, everything. And sometimes they failed because everyone freaked out at the same time and removed their savings to store under their mattresses.

I am not saying our local banks are not worried about the economy, any more than any other local business or agency. But they aren't besieged by angry and worried depositors asking for their life savings. The ones I drove past were doing normal business. Everyone knows that their savings are insured and they don't have to worry about that. They may worry about their 401k, and their retirement, and their stocks and bonds (good old free market) but their savings and checking accounts are safe, thanks to good old liberal (not socialist) policy.

I don't think that is a little thing, and I wish conservatives would recognize just how great of a contribution that is to our well-being. Perhaps they can consider that the next time they castigate all things government and all things liberal. Perhaps they can consider that during their next trip to the ATM when they don't worry about withdrawing cash.


I won't hold my breath.


steves said...

I don't hear all that many conservatives bashing the Depression-era banking changes, except for maybe the kooks that want to get rid of the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard. I hope Obama sticks to his promise of closing Gitmo. I don't think that US courts would have been the best place to try those kinds of cases, but there should have been some court set up to handle them in a timely manner. Holding them without any kind of charge is shameful.

Streak said...

Conservatives may not be bashing New Deal regulations specifically (though Phil Gramm helped undercut the Glass-Steagall Act in 99), but you can't tell me that it hasn't become mantra for conservatives to bash government, government programs, and liberals.

Or perhaps you hang out with more moderate conservatives. But everywhere I turn, including in the recent election, I hear conservatives bashing government. The economic collapse has muted that to some degree, but the anti-tax, anti-regulation crowd is still there.

steves said...

I know they are out there. I am certainly willing to bash government programs if I think they are wasteful, poorly managed, pork, or are in need of improvement. That being said, I try to be specific and not just bash the government in general.

Streak said...

But that isn't bashing, that is simply wanting good government. Grover Norquist and his ilk don't want that, and neither do most of the Republicans in Congress right now.

LB said...

I would argue that many intelligent conservatives are making a subtle, yet important distinction in the case of banking.

For conservatives, FDIC represents enforcement of an implied contract between a consumer and a bank. (I give the bank my money to invest for its own purposes with the expectation that I can have it back whenver I want it.) This is not "regulation" in the strictest sense of the word. Therefore, FDIC is acceptable government.

Streak said...

Perhaps. I am not convinced, but it isn't unreasonable. As I have said here in the comments, the Grover Norquists of the world don't want a functioning government, and when Republicans run on "every tax is evil," and "every government program is evil" then you have to excuse me for criticizing conservatives.

I will say, however, that after the last 8 years, I feel like paraphrasing Ghandi--you ask what I think about intelligent conservatives, and I say, "I think that would be a good idea." Or to put it another way, "where in the hell have you been?"