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Friday, September 26, 2008

Rescue the economy

The desire to punish the overpaid "geniuses" (irresponsible maniacs?) who created the current financial mess is very human. On the other hand, the resentment and envy shown by the great majority of politicians, commentators, and the public, is grossly unattractive and entirely counterproductive.

There is a financial tidal wave that is already spilling over the levees and beginning to damage the real economy of jobs, houses, services, goods, vacations and comfortable retirement. Without action, the damage is likely to be severe. Unfortunately, the twin objectives of inflicting suitable punishments upon the guilty and, at the same time, solving the problem appear to be mutually exclusive.

The current Administration plan provides no guarantees of success but is a step forward. While Congressional Democrats are arguing over the details, and doing their best to add punishment to the mix of programs, they are, nevertheless, exhibiting considerable political courage by focusing on a solution rather than revenge. Congressional Republicans resemble nothing more than Olympic sprinters, fueled by a slavish devotion to public opinion polls, racing to a new world record for political cowardice.

All who are involved, but particularly those very same Congressional Republicans, should be guided by these words spoken by Edmund Burke in a speech to the electors of Bristol in 1774:

"Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

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