Philosophy Weekend: Discouragement

Existential News Politics

I'm discouraged by the response to last weekend's post, in which I suggested that Tea Partiers and Occupiers could find enough common cause to begin working and protesting together for an honest economy, reduced military spending and libertarian government. I guess it's not too popular an idea. Still makes plenty of sense to me.

I'm an optimist by nature, but sometimes even I run out of hope and good will. I spent a couple of days this past week enmeshed in a depressing Facebook debate with a bunch of Occupy Wall Street friends and frenemies over whether or not Barack Obama is a tool of evil empire (I see him as an honest politician trying to do his best in a difficult situation, but that was a lonely position in this debate). I find myself surrounded by bleak, pessimistic visions of eternal strife and sworn hatred on all sides. My optimism comes up empty sometimes, no matter how hard I try.

Meanwhile, there are signs of encouragement in the world. The protest movement that began as Arab Spring and morphed into American Autumn may now be transforming into Russian Winter. This seems like a very good thing. Back here in the USA, I continue to find hope in the fact that a conservative politician named Ron Paul has been lecturing his fellow Republicans on the need to vastly cut military spending, and I can only wish that any liberal/Democratic politician would begin speaking as clearly and loudly for the same vital cause.  It's a strange world when I have to look to the Republican party to find a strong pacifist voice in America.

All discouragement aside, I believe the world is absolutely ripe for positive change. I wrote a couple of draft versions of blog posts about this yesterday, but I kept losing my grip on my message, and I don't think I'm going to find it today. It's out there somewhere. Maybe blowing in the wind.

I'll be back with some clearer thoughts next weekend.  The illustration on this page is from a drawing by Robert Crumb.

This article is part of the series Philosophy Weekend. The next post in the series is Philosophy Weekend: Cool The Engines. The previous post in the series is Philosophy Weekend: Why Occupy and the Tea Party Should Protest Together.
24 Responses to "Philosophy Weekend: Discouragement"

by mtmynd on

Re: "I find myself surrounded by bleak, pessimistic visions of eternal strife and sworn hatred on all sides. My optimism comes up empty sometimes, no matter how hard I try.'

Truth is neither optimistic nor pessimistic... it is what is. Regarding the political state of the world, not only our own country, is a real war of the nature of duality. Look around and it is so evident that our opinions are split down the middle, from the Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, the President and Congress, Tea Partiers and Occupiers, Capitalism and Socialism, Christians and Muslims, Pro-Choice and Pro-Life, Palestinians and Israelis... the dualities are everywhere one can look with open eyes and the Truth of the matter... and the Truth of the matter is with all those opinions coming from the mouths of millions and millions of people worldwide thru the various mediums we have constructed to disseminate those opinions to anyone that will listen, there are more talkers than there are listeners. Even our once trusted news sources in the U.S. now try to outshout each other much to the detriment of actual debate or truth finding.

We have arrived at a level of communications amongst all the world's peoples that compete for center stage with whose opinions will overrun the opposition. It matters little if there is not an ounce of wisdom in anything that is said because nobody really want to listen... not when there is this vast world of communications to rant on and on with.

It's arguably a time when nobody really seems to want to concede to another opinion that differs from their own. Look at the responses even on this board to verify that. Read the opinions (if you can!) that follow news reports... it is meaningless to give freedom of the press if freedom apparently equals anarchy.

As a reminder, "anarchy" is defined as -

1) Absence of any form of political authority.
2) Political disorder and confusion.
3) Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

More and more, from the U.S. to the Middle East, from Europe to Russia, from Africa to Asia... is there not a spot on the globe that one cannot see social unrest?

It could be easily argued that this phenomenon of social upheaval began it's big movement NOT because of the banking/mortgage crisis (another duality), but that, too, was initiated by everything else going on globally with unrest popping up damn near everywhere in a relatively short period of time. Who is the real culprit amongst us that should be punished harshly when this period of tremendous unrest is beyond our understanding?

If anyone truly believes they have the answer... the solution to all the upheavals throughout the world, we know that any answer will be met with a polarizing opposition.

Does anyone REALLY want the Truth and who amongst us would recognize the Truth if it was delivered to us personally? Who among us is willing to give up whatever goodness we have to achieve Truth.

Looking around thru the streets of my own hometown, to the news reports on the country, to International news and beyond, there is precious little that anyone seems to want to believe other than they are getting ripped off, they are getting cheated, they are not being treated fairly, they are hungry and homeless... all this misery continues growing all around us like a huge fungus threatening our very beings, and we are ill-equipped to deal with the enormity of the problem that we ourselves have created.

All the hu'man problems we deal with daily are OUR problems. We either believe in what we are doing as being the right thing for us to do or we are simply chasing dreams to escape from the god-awful reality that we find ourselves in. Again, we are faced with that never ending duality, yin/yang, and we continually try to disprove it's TRUTH. The less "YIN" the less "YANG"... the greater the "YIN" the greater the "YANG", true and simple. The greater the Nation the greater the collapse, the greater the wealth the equally greater the poverty.

No wonder there is so much doubt... the greater the doubt the greater the Truth.

no need for the depressions and predictions. the outsiders ain't getting in according to the papers and tv. owsers and teas are populist movements that cannot have an impact in the minds of the political establishment. both movements threaten the powerful. the father of the tea party would be seen as a beacon of light instead of an old kook doctor if the news readers weren't part of the club. amazing his thougthful and competent insights get met with nervous laughter. the owsers are portrayed as the bums and naive of society. well intentioned but mis-guided, or worse, un-guided. the only reasonable response to the madness is laughter and once you get it rolling, it will joy your heart. the life and death of the earth does not hang in the balance. nor the country. fates are set and always end the same. the end does always come. be a part of the times, play your part and scream for justice. but remember the souls beside you, their greed, their faults, their weakness. restless observation, careful intervention. with abandon.

by Iglius on

re: OWS

We must stop trying to figure out how to change the world and start dealing with the world we're in.

Protesting, in and of itself doesnt work. Never has. Opinions are meaningless unless you have the power to inflict it on other people.

At one time, a tax boycott would have sufficed, but post-Nixon Shock, it would be fruit flies in a filthy sink. So regardless of the demand or numbers of demanding, the government will not be induced to infringe upon the rights and autonomy of Big Business. At best, they can stop helping them. They'll fail and the government will too.

Even voting produces limited, if negligable results. In all democracies, there are a series of checks and balances so that no radical can get in and make too much of a mess out of it. Thank Xst.

I often wonder about the differences between optimism and realism. I find myself to be an optimist, because I see potential in the course we're going. In that, with finite and diminishing resources, global equality is not realistic, and from the POV of us priviledged countries, it's not preferred.

By taking a colonialist view of the world, most of these problems are simplified. Increase jobs through military spending; more weapons production plants means more jobs. Provide better benefits for soldiers and make military service an option for prison sentences and as the primary measure for those who are 'able-bodied' and seeking welfare.

And you dont need to manufacture anymore wars, if the West were to work the 'reconstruction' aspect of Iraq/Afghanistan/Libyan 'liberations' on willing countries (PEACE KEEPING) who lack the start up capital and stability for industry, you will create more jobs and generate independent capital for both parties.

Given we're a floating IMF regulated currency (off the gold standard), the issue is basically to produce money and investments that people want. Haitian dog food or the Kenyan corvette have a lot more potential than subprime mortgages or stocks in a government blown balloon market. PHYSICAL PRODUCTS

Yet it would be our domestic governments encouraging the private sector (with military support for the general welfare of the people) to engage in 21st century colonialism.

I'm making it sound trite, I'm basically (trying) to summarize FDR's New Deal applied to the Third World... maybe with a bit of British corporate colonialism (The Bay Company funded/founded Canada and provided a non-political structure and stability to the early farmers and settlers).

And keep in mind, as far as history goes, we're doing much better than the last century. And unemployment has yet to reach Steinbeck proportions. Even the civil unrest in Europe (part. Greece and the British fires) pales in comparison to the Naval Uprising and Kapp Putsch in Germany, the Italian adventures in Fiume, October 1917, Vanzettis, US Communists bombing senators, Pancho Villa, etc.

The dissent is weak, so the Reactionary agencies should be proportionate. No more Hoovers, no more Hitlers.

Sorry if this rambles.

by jeremy on

When I read this, I think of my mom, and that is a high compliment because I love my mom. I'm often cynical, and joke about 2012 being the end of the world and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. When I truly reflect on my jokes, I'm a bit ashamed, as I notice how cynicism -- warranted or not -- has crept into my life, even while my friends and family still view me as one of the most positive people they know.

Still my mom is positive to extreme of, in my opinion, being naive. But you know what? It's contagious. Despite my damnedest efforts, I can't help but thinking of 2012 as the age of enlightenment vs. the year of the walking dead.

My point: it's not about yours, mine, or anyone's feelings of cynicism. "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come," and the time for your ideas, and my mom's ideas, and for everyone else who's attempting to solve the problems we have at the higher plane they need to be solved on. Cynical or not, you have the right idea, and hopefully you, and people like you, will keep expressing those ideas until the rest of us can actually hear them for what they really are.

by Nardo on

The century's young Iglius. Keep in mind a hundred years ago they were dealing with similar economic problems as we are facing today, and as the century progressed they only got worse until World War II.

by Claudia on

Levi, unfortunately propaganda is usually much more effective than well-reasoned and reasonable arguments, like you always offer. But don't be discouraged, because your message resonates with so many readers.

by greg on

I confess, I read but didn't respond to your original post mainly because there are only so many social environments to which you can commit time. That this question of OWS and Tea Party cooperation concerns you enough to write a second post is, I guess, enough to make me respond.

I've attended both local Tea Party and OWS events. I attended the former because I was curious and because I like to see anybody, regardless of political persuasion, actively participating in direct democracy. I attended OWS events because I was curious and sympathetic to their cause.

The events couldn't be more dissimilar. Many of the participants in the two Tea Party demonstrations I attended were bussed in from...well, I don't know where. When I'd ask, the usual response was "I'm from out of town." The demonstrators seemed mostly convinced that President Obama was the source of the problems--some believed he was a Muslim, some thought he wasn't an American citizen, some thought he was a communist or a socialist, and most of them seemed to think he was deliberately trying to destroy the U.S. They felt the same way about the Democratic party--that most of them were traitors and trying to ruin the nation. For the most part they had professionally prepared protest signs, and while the people seemed sincere and earnest (if maybe a tad crazy) in their beliefs, both Tea Party demonstrations I attended felt like corporate events.

I've also attended two OWS events, and they were completely different. People arrived in groups--in vans and cars, by commercial bus (as opposed to chartered bus). They disliked the president's policies, but not necessarily the president himself. While there were some anarchists there (or folks who claimed to be anarchists) most of the people I spoke to didn't think government was inherently evil, just that it's poorly run and dominated by special moneyed interests. The demonstrations felt organic rather than corporate.

You suggest these two groups have much in common and could (and should) work together. I'm not convinced that was possible even before the Tea Party movement was completely co-opted and subsumed by corporate Republican entities. There may be some points on which the two groups agree, but when one group's ideology perceives the other as traitors who are deliberately trying to destroy everything that's good and holy, there's not much basis for cooperation.

I went to the Tea Party demonstrations expecting to find people with whom I disagreed, but whose participation in active democracy I could respect. Instead, I found it dominated by people who were hyper-suspicious to the point of irrationality. I wish your optimism about the Tea Party was justified, but my experience--and I admit my experience may not be representative--is that the Tea Party isn't open to cooperation, and in fact would see cooperation as the moral equivalent of surrender.

You know the old saying, "If he can't do it, nobody can." This is the way I look at President Obama. I have confidence in him. People are too quick to say they are disappointed in the person they voted for when things don't improve as fast they they want them to. Ask yourself, would the economy be any better if McCain had been elected? Of course not. How could it be? McCain isn't a magician and neither is Obama. What I look for in a president is someone with a combination of intelligence mixed with common sense, good judgment, determination, and the belief that all human beings can someday coexist peacefully. I think Obama fits this description. He may not solve every problem we have, but if he can't, then nobody running against can do any better. Some could, however, do worse.

by tolmsted on

Levi -

After reading the comments below your post about Occupiers & Tea Partiers finding common ground I felt the same discouragement. Which is why I didn't comment, though I sincerely feel you are on the right track. I apologize for that.

Some time ago I saw an interview with a woman whose daughter was protesting the Iraq War in NYC. The woman said she turned on the TV and her daughter was being interviewed, and when asked her stance the daughter stated clearly and concisely all her reasons for being against the war. The reporter then asked which withdrawal strategy she supported and the mother watched as her daughter looked at him for a moment - and then repeated all the reasons why she was against the war. (I can't remember where I saw this, but I think it may have been Stephen Colbert).

The point is: it's very easy to be against something or to go on about what the other side is doing wrong. Protesting is a good (and necessary) thing. But protesting can not be an end in itself. In many ways it's a lot more difficult to find a place in which to compromise and to try to build on that in order to effect real change. The latter takes actual work. It also takes the courage to risk exposing yourself to attack from the other side, and attack from those who you believed were on your side. What you're trying to do here is tricky business - but it's good that you're doing it. And if you can find 10 other people willing to work with you then that's something.

So take it on a chin and get back in there. :-)

by Alan P. on

Hi Levi,

I also believe that President Obama is a good guy trying to do good things. But our congress is being held hostage by the special interest money that got them elected. Any checks and balances have been isolated and legislatively defanged.

Our worldwide financial crisis is a class struggle resulting from our survival instincts gone wild. The one per centers are the "HAVES." The other ninety-nine percent of us are the "HAVE-NOTS."

The HAVES leveraged themselves into an impenetrable position by financing the passing of favorable money-making laws and regulations. They have locked up all the wealth, and therefore, all the opportunity. The HAVE-NOTS sit outside the loop without the power to break in and make a decent living. It's not a financial problem; it's an emotional problem.

Both sides are in the "fight or flight" mode of functioning. The HAVES feel as if their wealth is being threatened. The HAVE-NOTS feel as if their lives are being threatened. Everyone is so stressed they can't see reason. Logic doesn't work in the fight or flight mode. The HAVES can't feel happy when they're highly stressed so they simply rely on kneejerk measures to cope; they keep acquiring more money and power.

The only HAVES who have found the key to happiness are the older billionaires who, after dedicating their working lives to creating their fortunes, learned that excess money can't provide excess comfort. We see them now returning wealth back to society as fast as they can in an effort to reclaim their lives.

Well said, Tolmsted.

by mnaz on

tolmsted . . . gotta say, i don't like your example of how not knowing a precise "withdrawal strategy" somehow downgrades a person's protest against needless wars of choice. phased withdrawal is always the answer-- now, not later. too much stock is put into that question-- why does it even need to be asked? you can bet that obama & co. tried every maneuver in the book (at least up to the limit of the iraq operation's decimated political capital and leverage) to try and keep a substantial # of troops in iraq past the deadline. at every point along the way we've been told "we can't leave yet, or else" -- year after year . . . and suddenly, we're leaving.

anyway, to the topic:
o.w.s. and the tea party both demand an end to the absurd trillions in national red ink, but . . . toward this end: o.w.s. wants government to tax and regulate big business, and recognizes government social safety net programs as valid and necessary, while the tea party wants government to shrink dramatically and cut taxes even more.

plus, as various articles in the last year or two have pointed out, the tea party is being funded by large corporate interests (chief among them, the koch juggernaut).

so can these two movements protest together? maybe. but is there really enough fundamental "common ground?"

jane meyer wrote a groundbreaking article on 8/30/2010 exposing corporate influence and control exerted on the tea party-- "covert operations: the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against obama" (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?curren...)

and here is a pretty good blog entry from 11/4/10 describing the phenomenon. (http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/163962.html)
some excerpts:

--- "... liberal elite who didn’t know that David Koch, widely celebrated for his cultural philanthropy, is . . . the founder of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation which, as Mayer writes with some understatement, “has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception . . . it’s startling to learn that the Texas branch of that foundation’s political arm - known simply as Americans for Prosperity - gave its Blogger of the Year Award to an activist who had called President Obama “Cokehead in Chief" . . ."

--- "The other major sponsor of the Tea Party movement is Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which like Americans for Prosperity, has been a pioneer in promoting Tea Party events . . . Under its original name, Citizens for a Sound Economy, FreedomWorks received $12 million of its own from Koch family foundations. Using tax records, Jane Mayer found that Koch-controlled foundations gave out $196 million from 1998 to 2008, much of it to conservative causes and institutions . . . Since federal tax law permits anonymous personal donations to nonprofit political groups, these figures may be severely understated. The Kochs surely match the in-kind donations the Tea Party receives in free promotion 24/7 from Murdoch’s Fox News, where both Beck and Palin are on the payroll."

--- "Tea Partiers may share the Kochs’ hatred of taxes, big government and Obama, but there’s a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business . . . while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly. Yet the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by . . . (John Boehner and) Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Alaska’s anti-Medicaid, anti-unemployment insurance Palin protégé, Joe Miller."

--- "Their program opposes a federal deficit but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the super-rich; it apologizes to corporate malefactors like BP . . . and it opposes the extension of unemployment benefits for workers and calls for a freeze on federal regulations in an era when abuses in the oil, financial, mining, pharmaceutical and even food industries (among others) have been outrageous . . . The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that concerned working Americans are being manipulated into aiding and abetting their selfish interests."

by tolmsted on

mnaz - I believe you misunderstood me. The example was not meant "to downgrade a person's protest against needless wars of choice". If it matters to you, I was against the Iraq war from day 1. My point, and I believe the point of the woman who told the original story, is that being against something is not enough. It's a start, a good start even, but at some stage you need to be part of formulating the solution or else there can be no progress.

While I'm sure everything you say is valid, I have a difficult time believing that all the members of the Tea Party movement see themselves as (or are aware that they are) tools of the Koch brothers. And I'm sure there must be reasonable people on both sides willing to compromise. While our Congressional representatives may have forgotten how to do that, most Americans do not have that luxury. It's what we do every day, by choice or necessity, to a greater or lesser degree.

by mnaz on

sorry for the misunderstanding, tolmsted. and yes, solutions are important as well as dissent. however, i think dissent is often the crucial element-- until we make ourselves aware of specific problem(s) negatively affecting us all, then no one realizes a "solution," or different/better way is needed in the first place, at least not with any sense of urgency.

i guess it's not the general idea, but your example that didn't like. i.m.o., its not really a protester's problem to answer specific logistical questions about how to end, or draw down war(s) of choice, but to clearly articulate why these wars are wrong, and should end. and fairly promptly. the rest is up to those whom we elect and charge with the public trust. i don't really buy the basic premise we've heard so much in the last 7+ years, in effect-- "unfortunately we got into this war (based on lies), and now we're stuck for years" (uh, no we're not). i don't mean to pick on anyone or anything in particular, but this idea has always bothered me.

good point about (potential lack of) awareness of tea partiers as to who their sponsors really are. however, it sounds like the backbone of this movement is pretty well organized, given their regular "training sessions" and such. seems like most of these folks know the basic score. which leads back to my basic question-- how compatible are these two movements? how does one "compromise" with a movement that wants to rather uncompromisingly decimate government?

by Levi Asher on

"How does one "compromise" with a movement that wants to rather uncompromisingly decimate government?"

I think it happens on an individual level, one person by one person. I don't envision either organization officially merging its platform with the other -- that will never happen. But I can easily imagine more and more individuals who have been involved with one of the two groups becoming involved with the other, and I can imagine informal events where members of both groups can meet and share ideas. I just heard about a Personal Democracy media conference in NYC that attempted something like this:

http://personaldemocracy.com/media/tea-party-occupy-wall-street-and-beyo...

Hi Levi,

I'd like to throw in my chips with tomsted and say, Levi, don't throw in your chips just yet. What you have tried to do here - indeed, what you have done - is a very worthwhile and important thing. You have tried to bridge a gap that is killing our national discourse, and I think you have succeeded. I think you and I may differ on many political perspectives, especially when it comes to means toward ends, but I am in lock step with you on this mission: to stop demonizing the opposition and to try to find common ground for fruitful co-operation and progress.

Of course, success is never complete success: (You can't win 'em all, right?) But you have made the point srongly and faithfully; you have resisted every effort - though they have been many - to resort to the old 'It's all their fault' mentality, and with that you have gained admirers and, I'll bet, some converts. Personally, the greatest hope I see for this dire situation is instanced in your type of commitment. As long as some will try to get beyond the slogans and see opponents as people with concerns of their own, there is hope. And hope inspires others to hope, and to do better.

Likely it is a slow progress, my friend, and an uphill climb, but you have begun and it and I, for one though not thereby alone, thank you for that. So, as tomsted put it best: "So take it on a chin and get back in there. :-)"

You may be only now a little less alone than before, but you are a little less alone!

And so am I.

Regards and thanks,
kjml

by Iglius on

I'm sorry but if you cant explain how to implement the change you're protesting, then you obviously don't know enough about the issue and shouldnt be criticizing it. Anyone can come up with a list of demands, same as anyone can write to Santa.

You want World Peace and I want a pony I dont have to feed, store or groom.

Besides, if you cant give a comprehensive plan of action, what makes you think the government can? What makes you think it's even possible?

by Bill_Ectric on

How is it possible for the United States to have massively draining military presences in so many countries without going completely bankrupt and totally inneffectual?

by Shelley on

The only thing strong enough to fight the corporations is the government.

by mnaz on

---"I'm sorry but if you cant explain how to implement the change you're protesting, then you obviously don't know enough about the issue and shouldnt be criticizing it. Anyone can come up with a list of demands, same as anyone can write to Santa."

funny . . . o.w.s. was criticized for "not having an organized list of demands" early on. well, maybe a "list" or two has surfaced by now. haha . . . anyway, what's to explain? stick with the basics . . . tax and regulate corporations. when they fail, restructure, shrink and reorganize-- no more obscene corporate welfare. (everyone hates a welfare state, right?) restore the firewall between institutional speculation and banking-- end "casino banking." clamp down on energy futures manipulation and speculation. reduce the insane, crippling amount of military spending across the board-- yet more chronic (and relatively inefficient, unproductive) corporate welfare lavished on military/war profiteers. you know, the basics. okay, granted, if "demands" go beyond the structural basics-- e.g., maybe more public subsidies for education-- then a word or two on how to implement might be in order. (to start with, reduce military spending, reduce military spending, and reduce military spending).

--"Besides, if you cant give a comprehensive plan of action, what makes you think the government can? What makes you think it's even possible?"

what makes you think it isnt?

by tolmsted on

"I think it happens on an individual level, one person by one person. I don't envision either organization officially merging its platform with the other -- that will never happen. But I can easily imagine more and more individuals who have been involved with one of the two groups becoming involved with the other, and I can imagine informal events where members of both groups can meet and share ideas".

Hmmm.... I think you may be on to something. What if it were to begin small - 6 people meeting, 3 members from each side, in an informal setting. At a bar or over coffee or dinner. Set a few guidelines as to which hot button issues that are strictly off limits (abortion, health care, NY Yankees) and then see what happens. If it works out, have each person bring a friend to the next meet-up and let it grow from there.

I've was thinking this morning what if each side were asked to write on a piece of paper one platform they would be willing to budge on? Rather than beginning by each side asking for concessions from the other, ask yourself what would you be willing to compromise on in order to get the job done?

Hi Levi and tolmsted,
I think tolmsted's idea of beginning small with willing participants is a good idea, especially the requirement that folks start with what they would be willing to compromise on. It already moves the discussion to the next level, and by design, leaves out those who have no faith, or are just not interested, in compromise --the ideologues. It also has built into it a presumption that there is a concern - on the other side - that needs be met! This approach fosters understanding, since it requires people to think seriously about what "they" really want.
You see, Levi; you have sparked something worthwhile, I think.
Regards,
kjml

by Levi Asher on

Kevin, T. Olmsted, Mnaz, Bill and everybody else here -- thanks for responding so thoughtfully to this post. You are all turning my discouragement into encouragement!

by Iglius on

mnaz,

your post/suggestion points are still a bit vague. In general, you dont mention how the government would be able to make these changes. Are you talking about new bills or amending/ repealing existing ones?

For example, when corporations fail, how would government go about "restructure, shrink and reorganize"-ing failing corporations (instead of giving bail out $)? Should these measures be conditional to offering tax money? Should we have a regulatory board, or some sort of audit, in the style of the IRS?

Is it constitutional for gov't to have that much control over the private sector? Could this be translated into forcing a lifestyle onto welfare recipiants (re: states requiring mandatory, monthly drug tests)?

A messageboard may not be the best venue for such depth, but we need to start somewhere. And I am curious about economic policies. Though I find myself wary about the tone in which a lot of economic reform is spouted; Are your suggestions solutions to unemployment or merely a means of punishing the 'greed' that got us here?

Though cutting the military budget wouldnt be the best move re:unemployment. I'd direct funds to veteran and serving forces' benefits, while making sure arms factories remain opened and domestic. It would require plenty of tax incentives, but it would employ more people than the Wall Street bail out.

From what I'm getting from Conrad Black's FDR, is that a)you have to spend your way out of a depression, and b)money going into product is far better than money invested into money.

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