Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Real Message, Part II

In this space I once poked fun at our health care system by writing about a local plan to give away a colonoscopy exam as a prize for a drawing. This year I was shocked to discover that I was entered in the exact same lottery by a certain family member. The good/bad news? Someone else actually won. Readers here also win, because who cares about what getting your colon tested is like until it's your turn?

It's true that last week's title didn't have "Part I" attached to it, but these things keep turning up. And that's the case, I believe, because of the success of a certain political style of communicating called "staying on message". In part, it means everyone on "our" side says the same thing, using the exact same words, until the media and regular folks are also using them, perhaps without even knowing it. Did you ever refer to GWB with the phrase "He kept us safe"? You might have thought this was the product of your own brain. Sorry.
But I digress. This time around it's banking regulatory reform. You might think this would be a slam-dunk given the catastrophic economic meltdown of two years ago, but the Republican members of the Senate do not agree. Hard as it seems to believe, they would prefer no new regulations at all. Truth be told, they'd like to junk some of the ones already in place, but that's another story.
Senator Mitch ("McChinless") McConnell, having been tutored in the official company line by a GOP wordmeister, issed a statement in which he seemed to say that the proper response to such disasters in the future would do nothing and let troubled banks disappear altogether. And he's willing, he swears, to meet with Democrats on the issue, presumably to tell them why he feels this way, but not to join in the actual process of re-regulation. The depositors? Customers? Stockholders? I guess the market giveth and the market, well, McConnell doesn't say. Nor does he mention that the whole nasty mess came to us via...the Bush Administration, in which dedicated free marketers like Henry Paulson found that their faith in deregulation was closer to hubris.
Gosh knows I'm no economist, and my past experience in guessing future corporate earnings could be described as "professional" in only the broadest way, but over and over I see that deregulation of almost anything brings short term glee and ling term sorrow. And if the pros don't see these disasters looming, and they evidently do not, then the solution to the problem must lie not in members of Congress bought and paid for by banking interests, but by firm treatment from their opponents, most of whom turn out to be, yes, Democrats.


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