Monday, November 7, 2011

A Liberal and a Libertarian (finale)

Delivering the papers in temps in the upper 20's the last two days.  Brrrrrr. 

Started my new job this past week -- well, similar job but at a new location.  Very excited about all that I may be able to accomplish there.  Hope the slight bump in income allows me to reduce or eliminate the necessity for delivering papers which in turn will provide more time to blog.

Perhaps I wasn't quite fair to my libertarian friend in my last blog.  His opinions are just as valid as mine (although perhaps less well thought out).  Oops, did it again!

What it seems to boil down to is that we disagree on who to trust, or more precisely, who to trust less.  He does not trust politicians in general, and our elected federal officials in particular.  He sees POWER as their goal more so than public service.  He trusts the business world to provide the necessary goods and services in a way that provides jobs and economic growth, and trusts that the market will sufficiently penalize those businesses that produce shoddy goods, provide inadequate services and/or compensate their employees poorly.  A business will fail when its finances become unsustainable while a government can borrow or print more money when its finances are unsound. 

I do not trust businesses in general and corporations in particular.  I see PROFIT as their goal more so than providing quality products and services to their customers.  I trust in our elected officials, who we individually vote for in our democratic electoral system, to enact policies that will assist the citizenry that is most in need of help, and regulate business by providing guidelines that attempt to penalize those that take advantage of their employees and/or customers, and guarantee that the shared resources of our country are not polluted (air and water) nor inequitably used to enrich a small percentage of the population.  When our government fails to ask as its citizens require, we can replace it with new representatives.

Obviously, there are both good and bad politicians, good and bad businesses.  The danger at hand seems to be that those with PROFIT as their goal are using said profit to influence those with POWER as their goal and have combined to turn both our democracy and our economic system into one which unfairly rewards a small percentage of Americans to the detriment of the majority.  Regardless as to whether you want to call it the 99% or the silent majority or the backbone or the heartland of the country, we are under-represented in the halls of Washington and the board rooms of corporate America.

The tea party crystallized the distrust in our government by focusing on its size.  Bigger is worse, I guess.  Yet the movement fails to apply the same logic to our corporations.  This, I believe, is, or should be, one of the messages of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Not necessarily that business is bad, but that these huge corporations are an issue.  Is it a coincidence that top end executive pay has increased hundreds of times in the past 30 years while average working class salaries have stagnated?  If our largest corporations, especially the financial ones, are too big to fail, and if our elected officials have put into power people that have spent significant time working for those financial institutions, have we reached the time when our fears of big government and our fears of big business have been realized.  It is a win-win situation for the POWER and the PROFIT hungry and a lose-lose situation for the rest of us.

Still, I would be remiss if I didn't remind everyone that each of us are as much responsible for our situation as those hated politicians and corporate execs.  We want our 401K statements to reflect increases and we want our social security checks to keep on coming.  We want oil to be the cheapest in the Western world but refuse to see the connection between our obscenely high defense budget and our federal deficit.  We want to be able to tweet our next Occupy sit-in to everyone on our friends' list but forget that the phone was most likely manufactured by workers making dollars a day for corporations making billions of dollars a year.  We want lower medicare deductibles and cheaper medicines and longer lives but forget that as our population ages, the demographic shift is stressing the programs designed to provide such benefits.

So, perhaps we need to remember that democracy and capitalism are the worst government and economic systems yet invented, except for every other one.  That the systems are only as good as the people in charge and those involved.  That criticism of government is just as necessary as criticism of big business when either one loses its focus.  That, just like the recent "transfer-your-banking-business-to-a-credit-union-or-smaller-bank day, we can all make a difference, one vote or one act at a time but that it starts with that (hopefully) smiling face you see each morning in your mirror.     



  1. Continue to do well at the PLCB. Those new for profit owners that will soon be running that business will look to recruit the best and the brightest from the PLCB ranks.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the well wishes and the compliment. I would like to think that, should there be a privatization, I would have the opportunity to be an owner myself but fear that the monied interests that are foaming at the mouth to get the PLCB's profits will have all the chips. And might look for the best but not necessarily pay the best wages.