News & Views from 465 California Street

Reagan Revolution, RIP

Clint Reilly
Oct
21
2008

In his book, “The Crisis of Global Capitalism,” legendary investor George Soros warned that free markets needed to be supervised by a force more powerful than corporations or they would reel out of control.

Soros was prescient: “I argue that the current state of affairs is unsustainable. Financial markets are inherently unstable and there are social needs that cannot be met by giving market forces free rein.”

Nevertheless, Republicans have preached the virtues of deregulation since Ronald Reagan routed Jimmy Carter in 1980. Moreover, they have demonized government’s role as watchdog of the public interest.

Republicans so successfully undermined the vital importance of good government that they forgot how to govern in a stark emergency like Katrina. They have essentially asserted that unfettered markets would transform the world by seeding democracy and employing the planet into middle class prosperity, while deriding the concept that a powerful arbiter must protect the common good.

A blind promise to lower taxes is the primary Republican domestic platform. Frankly, it’s little more than a bribe that promises the nation prosperity and preeminence without an honest assessment of the money needed to sustain these high standards.

By shrilly opposing spending on vital investments such as education and infrastructure renewal, Reagan’s ideological progeny have unwittingly damaged America’s competitive edge. Today, our schools and vital assets like roads, bridges, airports, ports, transit systems and broadband networks are being trumped by numerous countries throughout the world.

But it gets worse. Now, the taxpayer trillions needed to douse the inferno on Wall Street will accrue interest, which must be paid by our kids. There will be even less capital available for the infrastructure and social needs of the future.
Meanwhile, as they have for decades, Republicans continue to stoke the flames of cultural and religious differences to cover up their total lack of a credible formula for sustainable economic progress.

The GOP’s complete absence of affirmative intellectual leadership on major domestic issues is beginning to show: Democrats are poised to take the White House, add 15-20 seats to their House majority and possibly reach a supermajority in the Senate.

Americans now see that the Republican no-new-tax mantra flies in the face of a glaring need for public investment. Like the stubborn owner who refuses to invest in new equipment and worker training, Republicans are bankrupting our country through a lack of vision and bad management.

The present financial crisis presents a moment for sober reflection: What has “hands-off” government wrought?

Huge concentrations of capital cannot be left to their own regulatory devices. The propensity for selfishness is overwhelming. As evidence, the entire global free enterprise system has been inadvertently jeopardized through laissez-faire regulatory policies. The trail of greed is as obvious as pig tracks in the mud. It is precisely because human beings inevitably pursue their own selfish interests that a greater authority is necessary to promote the common good.

Government must protect the public interest. This is precisely the philosophy adopted by Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic Party, which pulled America out of the Great Depression and into world economic hegemony for the remainder of the 20th century. On domestic issues, the Republican Party since Reagan has been a reactionary institution. The agenda has simply been to peel back the excesses of so-called “Big Government.”

2008 will mark the final passing of that reactionary Republican agenda and its public face – the Reagan Revolution. The simultaneous emergence of the credit crisis and a momentous presidential election forces Americans to evaluate not just two candidates, but also two governing philosophies.

The trillion-dollar bailout marks the end of the line for Ronald Reagan’s bankrupt domestic governing philosophy. Now Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson can rest in peace.

Comments (26)

  • Great column, nailed it. That Reagan approach reflects, ironically, the true total lack of common sense, logic, understanding of history and human nature, and the living in delusion and denial expressed over the years since then in Republican administrations, most notably and catastrophically during the last eight. Thanks.

    Steve B.
    Cupertino, California

    Posted by: Steve B. | October 21st, 2008 at 9:01 am

  • Mr Reilly,

    Rather than endless demonization of the Republicans, how about an
    admission that both parties are drawn to the money, as evidenced by Barney Frank and his cronies refusal to regulate the institutions they oversee. This may not fit with your agenda, but it would be a more honest and beneficial use of your ad space.

    Glad to see you acknowledging Clinton’s (a Democrat, I think) $5,000 a head primary gambit as a pandering bribe.

    best
    Mike

    Posted by: Mike | October 21st, 2008 at 9:12 am

  • Come on Clint!

    The situation is not as dire as it is made out to be. The value of the write downs these banks are claiming is just not so. Obama is not the answer. The fact is that homeowners got just as greedy as those clowns on Wall Street. Everyone became a home flipper or someone who tapped their overnight paper equity to live well beyond their means. Now they want to be helped out of their situation. Well fuck them and horse they rode in on. The fact is they are lazy deadbeats and THEY are the ones to blame for driving this economy into the ground. Make your mortgage payments assholes!

    Roosevelt enacted “The New Deal”….how about a Re-NEW Deal? If you want to create jobs make these deadbeats work on building new infrastructure or better yet make them serve 2 years in the military. I come from a strong military family on both sides and we have done our duty for this country but have these deadbeats? Of course not. They just want benefits and programs and help for doing nothing.

    Why tax the rich? Because they can afford it? Do they use the roads and libraries and schools more than the next guy? Flat tax is the only way to go. Pull you head out of your ass.

    TY

    Posted by: TY | October 21st, 2008 at 9:24 am

  • Isnt Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae really the democratic party?

    Posted by: Hal | October 21st, 2008 at 10:01 am

  • Clint:

    I witnessed the last thirty years. Please do not try to tell me that socialism works. I was in college during the Carter administration. I remember clearly, that our federal government, and particularly our president, was completely clueless. Thanks to Ronald Reagan and shift back toward capitalism, I was able to start my career, work very hard, and build a successful life. Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, and Oracle all were made possible due to the Reagan revolution. Whether you are willing to admit it or not, Clinton’s success was due to a vibrant capitalistic focus, in large part due to a Republican congress (Newt Gingrich) and Alan Greenspan. In case you have not figured it out, the life you enjoy was made possible by -

    Free market capitalism
    Protection of personal property rights, and
    The rule of law.

    If you have honestly studied the current economic crisis, you would know that it was caused by massive amounts of capital being funneled to fund home mortgages for un-creditworthy borrowers. Period. Didn’t you notice that prior to the crisis everyone thought it was all working so well. All of the lower income people who could not afford a home could now buy one. The Democrats could not have been happier. They were getting real results for real people. It is not because capitalism does not work. It is because something interfered with the free market. The investment banks failed because they invested to much of their capital in Collateralized Debt Obligations built from these mortgages that were supposedly low risk because of government backing.

    Why did this happen? The guiding hand of the free market was clouded by government sponsored entities (Fannie, Freddie) and government sponsored programs (Frank, Dodd, Acorn). Didn’t you listen? We privatized gain and socialized risk. If there is someone to directly blame, it is the rating agencies (Standard & Poors, Moodys). I wonder who pressured them? It certainly wasn’t the financial institutions buying all the AAA mortgage based debt that has now plunged in value. If you want the government to regulate something, start with the rating agencies. Let me guess, that does not work for you because you cannot use it as a political issue to promote socialism. Like you, the same Democratic congressmen and senators who blew up this bubble are now telling everyone it is corporate greed and a lack of government regulation that caused the collapse. They know better, but they can’t help it; they’re whores.

    In my lifetime, I have continually noticed that Democrat politicians never miss an opportunity to prostitute any issue to gain power (war, environment, economy). Here we go again. And this time, it is clearly working. You win. No doubt, in the coming years you will be able to accelerate the redistribution of wealth. You will be able to engage in class warfare and confiscate people’s property. You will be able to give bureaucrats the power to bend financial transactions to suit their whims. Congratulations. However, whether you realize it or not, I am sure that you and others like you are teaching your children to rely on government institutions; to focus on society as a whole rather than their families; to accept the distribution of wealth based on needs rather than contribution. I on the other hand, will teach my children to distrust government, to be self-reliant, to put their family first, to guard and protect their hard earned assets, and always strive to be the best. Time will tell how things work out in the long term.

    G-Reinhardt

    Posted by: GR | October 21st, 2008 at 10:03 am

  • Hi clint,
    By the way, Soros is primarily a speculator (almost brought down the financial system in England)—among other things; and I understand from reports that speculators are primarily responsible for the current credit meltdown. I’m not surprised you reference a rascal.
    Both parties are imperfect running an imperfect government under an imperfect Constitution. Reason compels me to agree that regulations are necessary in many of our human endeavors if balanced within the context of what we all can agree does not seriously damage the underlying promise of our Constitution—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    In that context: Black Americans were enslaved and lynched by Democrats.
    Offered peace, the Democrat Confederacy chose war and fired on Fort Sumpter without provocation eventually causing the death of 620,000 Americans.
    A Democrat President imprisoned Americans in concentration camps. Yet, he is celebrated. Imagine that!
    Six Democrat wars killed over a million Americans.
    I don’t think Republicans can match this bloody record.
    So much for the promise of “Life.”
    Most Black Americans, whose ancestors were enslaved and lynched by Democrats, are Democrats. Imagine that!
    Democrat party is awash in blood—-and you endorse it.

    To be sure, Democrats have caused the development of social good that benefits many Americans—-but at a terrible bloody cost.
    Respectfully,
    Hank R

    Posted by: Hank | October 21st, 2008 at 11:04 am

  • I enjoy reading your columns. (And it’s a kick knowing how you got them.) I read your column about the Reagan revolution. I agree that there has been a lack of investment in our infrastructure and education that is hurting the country but I am furious that the media, including you, are not reporting accurately the real heart of this economic meltdown. I am a registered Democrat but a media that is biased and will not report the truth because it is cheering for the Democratic candidate is the death knell of democracy. This is the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression and is mostly a problem created by Democrats but because of media bias it becomes a negative for the Republicans in this campaign. How can this be?

    Bob

    Posted by: Bob | October 21st, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  • Clint:

    In case you want to get back to the New Deal to stimulate jobs since you are putting Reagan Revolution to rest in your column today. J. Singmaster

    To: letters@washpost.com
    Subject: Stimulate Jobs not Sales

    Editor: The last stimulus package only gave retailers a little boost in selling mainly foreign made goods. The needed stimulus has to start with jobs programs such as redeveloping the rundown public housing sector so that jobs will be created to get many unemployed construction workers back to work. That will get them off
    unemployment, now running out of funds, and get them working, earning, spending and paying taxes again. Further job stimulus can be done by increasing the taxes on fuels by 15 cents/gal. which will not be much of a jolt for the public compared to the gas roller coaster we just went through. That money goes to the Transportation Fund needing money so that it can expand road and transportation improvements developing more new jobs. The stimulus has to be for developing jobs not sales so that many Americans can get back working, earning, spending and paying taxes. That also means that companies working on these projects will be paying taxes over time.

    Dr. J Singmaster, Fremont. CA

    Posted by: James | October 21st, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  • Clint,

    “The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money” –Alexis de Tocqueville

    How ironic you should cite this quote in support of your big government investment plan. Isn’t that exactly what Tocqueville was belaboring? Isn’t the money you and the Democrats want to invest for our good (aka bribe) our own money?

    Obama wants to “invest” over a trillion dollars and give 95% of working people a taxcut or check by taking from the remaining 5%. Sounds heroic like Robin Hood until you realize that his name derives from robbing hoodlum. What you and Obama aren’t telling us is that by reducing the available cash for spending on luxury items or investing in businesses you are shrinking the job market. What good is a taxcut if you take away my job? It seems to me you are engaging in static analysis as most politicians do when as a businessman you should know that for every action there is a reaction. Corporations don’t pay taxes, they are just a collection point for taxes that are passed along to the people who buy their products and services. Lowering tax rates have actually proven to increase tax revenues. Spreading the wealth around makes all of us poor. To create wealth for all we need to grow the pie.

    The financial meltdown expenditure is a necessity, like fixing a leaking roof or fighting forest fire, not a misplaced priority that justifies other spending.

    So, forgive me, while you may be correct in assessing that the Reagan Revolution is dead with the trifecta of Obama, Reid and Pelosi I look forward at that prospect with trepidation. I see the rest of the country going the way of Detroit and Michigan.

    Regards,

    Erich

    Posted by: Erich | October 21st, 2008 at 1:19 pm

  • While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher whose hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid.

    The old rancher said, ‘Well, ya know, Palin is a ‘Post Turtle”.
    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was.

    The old rancher said, ‘When you’re driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a ‘post turtle’.
    The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued to explain. ‘You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, and she doesn’t know what to do while she’s up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with’.

    Posted by: PJ | October 21st, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  • Clint,

    Words cannot express how deeply moved I was with your article entitled Reagan Revolution RIP! It totally summed up the feelings I’ve had for a long time about the consequences of the Republican ideology over the years. I surely hope that the American voters send a message to these greedy dolts (both sides of the isle included) that no longer will we sit by and let them destroy our economy and our good name abroad with simple mined economic and foreign policies that undermine the governments duty to enact legislation for the common good of ALL of it’s citizens.

    I’ll be sure to look for more of your comments in the future. If you are ever in the Pleasanton area, I’d love to meet you.

    Cheers and blessings to you and yours,

    Rick M.

    Posted by: Rick | October 21st, 2008 at 2:23 pm

  • Clint:

    Yeah Ive got a comment.

    YOURE FULL OF $%!* PAL!

    Trying to lay this on the GOP is weak and disingeniou

    I knew you were full of shit when I saw you write that the GOP was against spending on schools, and infrastructure. There is plenty of money but the states who run the schools dont spend it right.

    Thats why California rejects all new bonds in elections for increased spending on this.

    Dont blame Bush for a states spending problems.

    Katrina?

    Wow, that must be some good dope youre smoking.

    B. Filice

    Posted by: B.Filice | October 21st, 2008 at 5:08 pm

  • Dear Mr. Reilly,

    I read your column printed in the Oakland Tribune on 10/21/08 titled “Reagan Revolution, RIP.” Ditto and amen. I’ve been waiting years (28) for someone in the media to point out Ronnie’s “the government is the problem” for what it is… a very un-patriotic statement.

    I once heard someone say conservatives never initiate anything new… they just co-opt what liberals initiate years before. That’s how Reagan’s anti-Americanism can be explained. He was channeling the 1960′s attacks on the ‘bigummint’ Vietnam War but trying to do it without opposing the war and his corporate (GE) backers. The real unrecognized problem was the military-industrial complex owning the government and usurping the power of the ballot box. There wasn’t anything wrong with government but there was something wrong with who owned it.

    I could go on forever but actually I wanted to let you know there’s a chart (by Knight-Ridder) in Charles Kelly’s “The Great Limbaugh Con” (pg. 36) that should be seen by everyone in this country. Before the election. It shows federal income tax rates for top bracket incomes from 1913 to 1991. From 1936 to 1981 (45 yrs.) rates on upper incomes never dropped below 70%. And from 1944 to 1963 (20 yrs.) they hovered around 88%! Larry King recently pointed out on his TV show that Frank Sinatra came out of WWII a millionaire. Imagine that, during WWII you could sell a product for pennies a pop, pay 88% of the profits to Uncle Sam, and still become a millionaire!

    Now some in the media are calling Obama a socialist for wanting to raise taxes on the very wealthy. I wonder if people knew that during Eisenhower’s entire presidency he was taxing top incomes at 88%. “That’s damn near confiscatory!” as someone I showed it to said. Does that mean one of the greatest Republican presidents of our times was a socialist? I say he was but getting the GOP to admit it will certainly take some doing.

    I’d be glad to send you a copy of the chart in Mr Kelly’s book but I know some people don’t like blindly downloading computer files from strangers. I could easily fax a copy to you if you have a fax machine to receive it. I have been faxing it to some newspaper ‘letters’ columns but none will print it. I find it absolutely amazing but then anyone putting a crack in Republican economic theory larger than the crack in Joe the Plumbers posterior should expect it. Perhaps you could include it in one of your columns?

    Again, kudos for your RIP to Reagan. If you send me your fax number I’ll send you the chart from Mr. Kelly’s book.

    Sincerely,
    Paul M.

    Posted by: Paul M. | October 21st, 2008 at 6:46 pm

  • Clint,

    Though your views are typically more liberal than mine, I enjoyed your
    piece on the end of Republican/Reagonomics. Unlike you, I only wish
    that I had more faith in the Democratic Party. Sadly to me both
    parties are bankrupt today. Given what he will be inheriting, I feel
    sorry for Senator Obama if he prevails and actually takes control in
    January.

    Regards,

    David G.

    Posted by: David G. | October 21st, 2008 at 11:39 pm

  • You can’t be serious blaming Reagan’s economic policies for the trillion dollar bailout. You better check with the democratic leaders regarding the true nature of this Fannie Mae fiasco. Reagan’s been out of office for…..20-years?…and you have the nerve to link him??!! WOW!!

    Here are the real reasons for the trillion dollar mess:

    #1: In 1995, Bill Clinton and the democrats added massive provisions to Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. This forced financial institutions to provide real estate loans to those that probably would not qualify. Barack Obama as an attorney sued Citibank during the 1990s because Citibank wasn’t agressively providing enough loans.

    #2: Franklin Rains, CEO of Fannie Mae, along with a handful of other corrupt executives “cooked the books” so the executives would receive more bonus payout money. Fannie Mae sold off tons of loans with suspect capital backing while Congress looked the other way because Fannie Mae was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to senators and congressfolk. This is probably the biggest conflict of interest in the history of regulatory banking. The banks were practically forced to buy suspect mortgages and sub-prime loans as a govenment mandate based on fraudulent paperwork from the Fannie Mae clan….this is madness!!!

    #3: Chris Dodd (D), the head of the Senate Banking Committee, you know the guys that are suppose to watchdog financial institutions? Well, guess what?…Dodd received more Fannie Mae money than anyone ($165,400). Second is Barack Obama who grabbed more money in 4 years ($126,349) than John Kerry did in 20-years($111,000). Isn’t this like the fox watching the hen house?? If you paid just a little bit of attention to the 2004 Fannie Mae hearings that everyone is now feigning amnesia, the democrats were touting the praises of Franklin Reins and how effective Fannie Mae was (I just want to throw up). The Bush Administration tried twice in 2002 and 2005 to get more control over Fannie Mae but both times it was blocked by the democrats. Even John McCain in 2006 authored a bill to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack; but it was stalled out by the democrats.

    Now the media and the democrats are pretending they don’t know anything still with a couple weeks to election time. This stinks!! The media is so PITIFUL they are afraid it will upset the Obama bandwagon. What amazes me is how stupid the republicans are acting! The democrats must have the republican’s small children as hostage or something.

    You need to print an apology regarding that trillion dollar bailout comment. You might as well blame Reagan for Katrina, the World Center Bombing and the Titantic while you’re at it! Check out issues #1, #2, and #3 yourself. I expect to see at least something putting the blame where it needs to be….with greedy people in the government lining their pockets with tax payers money from Frannie Mae!! You also will notice nobody is going after those corrupt Fannie Mae executives……gee, I wonder who hired them???

    D. McCaine

    Posted by: D. McCaine | October 22nd, 2008 at 8:34 am

  • I just sent you directly a short letter sent to Washington Post on Stimulus for Jobs not Sales. The stimulus of the past spring did nothing much except generate some sales of mostly foreign made goods. Jobs are the engine that drives the economy; money and credit are just the engine’s fuel that often gets burned foolishly.
    If we would get the govt. to put ten billion dollars/year for the next few years into renovating the several million rundown public housing units, we would create over 200,000 new jobs, many for construction workers now drawing unemployment funds down to nothing. Directly, 100,000 would be involved in the renovations, but another 100,000 or more will be supplying the paint, heaters, furnaces, sinks, toilets, new flooring, etc.. So 200,000+ people earning from $30,000-60,000/year would be, taking a $45,000/year average pay, getting to $10,000,000,000 being spent to get the economy engine going at a lot less than the previous stimulus. And those workers will then be spending to develop probably 50,000 or more new jobs in consumer products and service industries. And all of these put-back-to-work workers will be paying some taxes as will be the contractors.
    One point for the program would be building in large projects a community center to have a daycare center perhaps with Headstart programs, maybe space to have evening classes and even some kitchen service to provide simple meals for busy two worker families having little time to get meals together. Dr. J. Singmaster, Fremont

    Posted by: Dr. James Singmaster | October 22nd, 2008 at 9:39 am

  • I just read your article on the “Reagan Revolution, RIP” in my local newspaper. Although it is well written, it clearly points to the typical partisan political finger pointing that is either meant to sway the voter with only two weeks left to November 4th or to promote an agenda that it appears from your writing only one party can attain.

    Your description as a “moment for sober reflection” of the present financial crisis is accurate it just lacks the root cause of our current economic crisis. The current economic crisis is first and foremost a crisis that was brought about by the mortgage crisis (FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC). The regulatory policies were in place to prevent the meltdown of the real estate market and a meltdown in the credit market (THE CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC STABILITY) but they were overlooked and revisions were made that perpetuated this economic crisis.

    So how did we get into this mess? A mess that you so conveniently pointed to the Republican party and Ronald Reagan that I felt compelled to respond.

    1938 FANNIE MAE was created by FDR during the Great Depression to provide liquidity in the Mortgage Market.

    1968 The government converted Fannie Mae into a private shareholder-owned corporation in order to remove its activity from the annual balance sheet of the federal budget. Consequently, Fannie Mae ceased to be the guarantor of government-issued mortgages. That responsibility was transferred to the new Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae).

    1970 Freddie Mac was created to compete with Fannie Mae to facilitate a more robust and secondary mortgage market.

    1977 Under Jimmy Carter (Democrat / President) the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was signed into law. The purpose was to encourage depository institutions (Banks) to help meet the credit needs in the communities in which they operate. Bottom line, to give credit to low income households who would normally not qualify (very important – to those who would normally not qualify). The organization ACORN (founded in 1970) became very active from this point in forcing banks to lend to sub-prime borrowers.

    1999 Under Bill Clinton (Democrat / President) a bill was passed to force Fannie Mae to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers. Fannie Mae was pressed to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to sub-prime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Fannie Mae was also under pressure to maintain its record profits. Fannie was forced to buy up to 50% of its portfolio in sub-prime loans.

    2001 In April of 2001 George Bush (Republican – President) raised concerns in regards to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    2002 Wall Street Journal raised the issue of the serious condition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in.

    2003 September 10, 2003 George Bush (Republican – President) recommended regulatory change for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Barney Frank (democrat), the ranking member of the Finance/Banking Committee testified that Fannie and Freddie were sound institutions. Please look up and listen to the glowing accounts of the soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Charles Schummer, and other Democratic supporters of these failing institutions.

    2004 Franklin Raines (Chairman and CEO) of Fannie Mae is fired for cooking the books, bringing disgrace to the company, imperiling Fannie Mae’s standards with regulators, our government, and the American people. This gentleman left Fannie Mae with a: Deferred Compensation of 8.7 million Stock options worth 5.5 million (fortunately worth less because of the state of the stock market), A monthly pension of $114, 393 for life, Free medical and dental coverage for life for himself and his wife. This arrogant gentlemen earned over 90 million in six years with Fannie Mae By the way, he has been an economic advisor for Barack Obama (until recently when it was brought to the attention of the American people)

    The number one recipient for campaign contributions from Fannie Mae since 1989 has been Chris Dodd (Democrat) – $165,000 The number two recipient for campaign contributions from Fannie Mae in only three years in the senate is Barack Obama – $126,000 In fairness, John McCain has received $21,000 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae since 1989.

    2005 In April of 2005 George Bush (Republican – President) renews this concern before Congress of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    2005 A Bill is introduced (John McCain actively pushes for passing) is voted on to regulate Fannie and Freddie. Democrats voted to oppose the regulation and the Republican congress voted to pass regulation.

    Although well intentioned, the push for home ownership at whatever cost to our economic system is a Democratic boon doggle and needs to be clearly pointed out. Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Charles Schummer, Maxine Waters, and others need to be held accountable for their recklessness. This is 100 times worse than the Enron scandal but yet what is being done to those who fostered this mess. Nothing, because we have a House and Senate controlled by the Democrats who will no go after one of their own.

    Especially when they have pushed all along that is a failed Bush economic policy; and by the way Bush caused the Katrina hurricane.

    Please do your due diligence and look at the root cause of our economic crisis and not point fingers that are in error.

    I agree regulation should be in place and that a total free market with no controls on corporations is wrong but on the reverse side over regulation that Ronald Reagan appropriately brought to the American people’s attention is also wrong. There were controls in place but agenda got in the way of reality.

    Yes, taxes are an issue in this election but they are not the only issue. You have once candidate who opposes any increase in taxes (John McCain) at this critical time in our nation and you have the other candidate (Barack Obama) who is favor of raising taxes on the top 5% of wage earners who are the main tax payers; the job creators, the company starters, the capital generators. Why punish those who create jobs only to ensure more job loss.

    If you don’t believe what I am saying, than ask Joe the plumber; he tried to point that out to Mr. Obama and now is being crucified for asking. The choice is very clear; we either vote for the Communist (re-distribute the wealth) candidate or the Capitalist candidate.

    Thanks again for your article. I hope many people read it and understand that pointing fingers in the wrong direction isn’t always right. Just look at Nancy Pelosi when asked by a reporter a couple of weeks ago if the Democrats had any involvement at all in the current economic crisis. Her response came quickly and without no hesitation, “the Democrats were not in charge when this took affect”. These are the failed economic polices of Bush for the last 8 years. This coming from the head of the do-nothing congress. They need to start looking at within if they have the cuts to.

    Tom DeRouchey

    Posted by: Tom | October 22nd, 2008 at 10:12 am

  • The financial mess? How about the fact that the democrats
    insisting that everyone is entitled to buy a home whether they have
    income or not? This is what got Freddie Mac with all the sub prime
    junk. Over the past couple of years the Republicans have tried to
    enact regulatory legislation regarding the mortgage mess etc..
    however they were stymied by the idiot Democrats every time. And
    now a couple of the honcho’s from Freddie Mac etc have gotten
    positions as financial advisors to Obama. Vote Obama in and you will
    have no economy and probably no country. This guy has lots of bad
    associates and has no real accomplishments and is also heartily
    endorsed by Hamas and most of the Arab media. He is the worst
    candidate we have ever seen for the office of President. He even
    makes George McGovern look really good at this point. Four years of
    Obama will turn this country into the world’s largest third world
    banana republic!

    Craig C.

    Posted by: Craig | October 22nd, 2008 at 11:50 am

  • So it is all Reagan’s and the Republican’s fault. How much cool aid have you been drinking? At a time like this how dare you try and play partisan politics ala Pelosi. What we need now is bipartisan cooperation. Don’t blame the Reagan Administration which enabled the nation to experience unprecedented growth and prosperity.

    The truth of the matter is that the seeds of the credit crisis began during the Clinton Administration. It was the government at that time that pressured Freddy Mac and Sally Mae to give loans to those who couldn’t afford it brought on by the liberal dream that ‘all Americans have an entitlement of a home of their own.’

    Of course, unlike you, I’m not blinded by party loyalties. I gave up my cool aid a long time ago. There is plenty of blame to go around: The credit agencies for not doing their job. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank for not doing their job in the banking and finance committees. The SEC for raising the leverage bar from 15 to 30 for banking institutions. The Federal Reserve Chairman for keeping rates low for to long. The Bush Administration for not monitoring the situation and giving the folks a heads up. The mortgage brokers for giving loans to unqualified home buyers. And the home buyers themselves. And so on and so on.

    The main and perhaps only actions at this point are to prosecute those who have violated their duties and to put tougher restrictions on leveraging. We don’t need bigger and bigger government which is accountable to nobody and has created this boondoggle in the first place.

    d. mcdonald
    walnut creek, ca

    Posted by: D. McDonald | October 22nd, 2008 at 12:01 pm

  • Kidding. Just wiped my &*#$ with another one of your misguided diatribes. You and George Soros can both go *&$% yourselves. Moron.
    Mitchell Smith
    Capitalist against the lazy people you support

    Posted by: Mitchell S. | October 22nd, 2008 at 4:32 pm

  • Dear Clint,

    I always enjoy your column in the San Jose Mercury News and usually I agree with you. Yesterday’s column was exactly the way I feel about government and the two parties. I would have said it myself if I had the facility with words that you have. Thanks for saying what you did.

    Yours,

    Marge A.

    Posted by: Marge A. | October 22nd, 2008 at 5:10 pm

  • Clint
    Great column.
    I can tell you hit the mark by all the vitriol expressed by the monolithic homogeneous partisan, my party first camouflaged as my country first, great patriots who are more American than you or me, their god better than yours or anyone who is not right wing conservative christian, anti liberal (they don’t even know the meaning of the word) , worked harder than you or anyone else for what they have and no one is going to take it from me because I pulled myself up by my boot straps, self righteous Pharisaical dividers, fear mongers who only care about their own self interest ,who listen to the same talk shows, watch the same fair and balanced fox news cast, read the same right wing columnists and utter the same crap and recite the same script written by the same ideologues who only want to divide, demonize, destroy and have come close to achieving that goal not only in the United States but around the globe.They possess the same hubris and ignorance, lack of curiosity and concern as the current president whom they voted for twice. I guess the last 8 years don’t count as far as they are concerned. Nor the 8 years of Reagan and 4 years of the first Bush…no responsibility there of course..These are the blamers, finger pointers, the punishers, the end justified by any means crowd as long as I benefit and screw all the rest of those who are not like me, who don’t think like me, who don’t worship at the same church or country club as me.

    But Of course it was the 8 years of Democratic leadership (six of those with a Republican House) in the last 28 years that caused all of today’s problems. Surpluses and deficits don’t count. These are the same narrow minded people who will wail against the majority of heterogeneous Americans when they soundly and unequivocally issue their verdict in the coming results of November 4…these lemmings will be deaf to the music and blind to the celebration of the long awaited victory for decency, hope , and progress as they march into the sea of remorse and self pity.

    The majority of Americans and the majority of countries around the world will rejoice.

    Great column.
    Si Hugo Green

    Posted by: Steve Dells | October 22nd, 2008 at 9:31 pm

  • I READ YOUR ARTICLE IN THE MERCURY NEWS AND I AM SO HAPPY YOU
    TELL IT LIKE IT IS.

    Posted by: A. Lobato | October 23rd, 2008 at 10:48 am

  • Dear Clint,

    I always read your columns with interest (parsing every sentence!) I particularly liked the one Reagan Revolution,RIP. What I like best about it is the resurrection of the phrase common good. That phrase used to be very commonly heard by politicians, but has been muffled for a long time. Right wingers are trying to give the common good a bad name by calling it socialism. So, keep the word out there and let us hope it becomes part of political thought and action once again. Tony M.

    Posted by: Tony M. | October 23rd, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  • Forgive me ,I am a very slow typist however I did want to make a couple of points in regard to your sophmoric treatise. You have made millions being a parasite in the political process….good for you. Where to start there is so much that is in variance with fact…..well let us look at your FDR assertion….There are a large number of Economists and Historians that would proffer that the Great Depression was prolonged by his policies…….That aside the unemployment rate was over 17% in 1939 and by 1943 it was in low single digits so in reality it eas the 2nd World war that brought the GD to an end……….The present economic crisis can be mainly traced to the Dimocratswhich is a long story but in the latter part of the 90′S when they reduced the capitalization requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to 2.5% the skids were greased and subprime loan growth exploded . Lending institutions ignored sound credit policies because they could just bundle the l oans and sell them off to you know who….Then they came up with CDS to compound the problem…..Attempts by the Administration or bank regulators to rein in the problem was met by open hostility Franks and Dodd……Go to Youtube and check some of the video on file of the proceedings ……….I could go on and on about the obviously lack of devotion to fact or intellectual dishonesty………….Our problem is not so much on the revenue side but politicans insatiable appetite to spend and California can be Exhibit 1……….Long ago the Dimocrats became experts on using taxpayer $ to rollover to all the various unions so they could rely on their vote in the next ………. Perfect example ……..VALLEJO!!!!

    Posted by: Schapelli | October 23rd, 2008 at 5:49 pm

  • Mr. Reilly:

    I am sure you are assuming that your readers are a bunch of sheep waiting to hear the likes of writers like you to explain what is happening in Washington.

    We know all about “Friends of Angelo”, Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, A.C.O.R.N, Franklin Raines, Leland Brendsel, Jamie Gorelic, Jim Johnson, Chrisopher Dodd, Chuck Schummer, Barney Frank, and the list goes on.

    You must be aware of all these names and the thread of scandal between them. An intelligent and street wise person like yourself should, also, know that we are aware of those who try to shield the bend the truth to fit your agenda.

    Lets be clear, these elected scoundrels and their co-conspirators will be found out and removed from office. You cannot fool all the people all of the time.

    Respectfully:

    A.Womble

    Posted by: Womble | October 27th, 2008 at 11:00 am

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