Saturday, September 20, 2008

Deregulation fever wrecked the American economy

I've been saying for years that the deregulation fever that broke out during the Reagan administration would eat this country alive one day, and here those chickens are coming home to roost. Deregulation was blunted by a Democratic-controlled Congress in the 1980s, but when the Republicans took over in 1994, things got way out of control.

Is it really fair to blame President Clinton in part for all this mess? Sure is. Congressional Republicans pushed for excessive deregulation, and President Clinton was morally obliged to veto those bad bills. Things got bad in the 1990s. Of course, when President Bush took over, things got worse. And when President Bush got a Republican House and Senate to play with in 2003, things got far, far worse.

We've had a string of conservative presidents: Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. They all pushed for more deregulation. I watched it from inside the financial industry, where I used to work, but jumped that ship when it became all too apparent it was taking on water. I don't enjoy saying that I told you so, since the wreck of the markets and our economy has hurt us all and will continue to do so, but there it is.

What we're seeing is the fallout of conservative economic philosophy. Blame can largely be placed at the foot of the Republicans, but the conservative Democrats who played ball with the Reaganites and their disciples are just as guilty.

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At Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 3:07:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said Kurt. I think we are beginning to see a sense of awareness about the ills of neoliberalism. In the past, it seemed like "supply side" and "trickle down" economics were presented, on both a domestic and international level, as policies that benefited the average joe, but which he could not understand. Now, I get the sense that people are beginning to see deregulation as something that definitely does not benefit the regular person, no matter how articulately it has been dressed up.

At Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 3:59:00 PM EDT, Blogger Lasha Vivon said...

It sounds like we live in a corrupt society-where everyone is guilty!

At Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 6:59:00 PM EDT, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Anonymous--I agree with you about supply-side economics and the dangers of deregulation, but why are you referring to this as "neoliberalism"? Don't you mean "neoconservatism"?

Lasha--Everyone isn't guilty. There are guilty parties in both major political parties, to be sure, but there are decent people out there. They may have been marginalized and shouted down, sure, but decent, honest people remain. Cynicism is probably a healthy take on the world, but pessimism is not.

At Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:53:00 PM EDT, Blogger TT said...

*note to readers* ....Lasha is pretty much pessimistic on everything-not just politics, so0o0 yes in Lasha's eyes..."everyone is guilty!" :P

At Monday, September 22, 2008 at 2:59:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kurt, you are right. Especially in the context of what you had written, I should not have brought neoliberalism into the discussion. Largely though, neoliberalism was the extension of a neoconservative mindset applied to the global world.
This is from wikipedia's page:
"Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer control of the economy from state to the private sector. The definitive statement of the concrete policies advocated by neoliberalism is often taken to be John Williamson's "Washington Consensus", a list of policy proposals that appeared to have gained consensus approval among the Washington-based international economic organizations (like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank)."

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