The air is crisp, the sky bright blue, the leaves have passed their red-orange peak and are falling around the headstones of those who gave our nation their lives.
As I am writing this column on Veterans Day 2008, the sacrifices of our fallen military heroes are being remembered, briefly but respectfully, on the morning television news. But as you are reading this column, the sacrifices of our military veterans will already have been pushed back to their traditional place on the lowest rung of your government's agenda ladder. Our nation's leaders will have moved on to their own urgent priorities: The closing of one presidency, the opening of another; the convening of the new Congress.
For better or worse, or whether it's throwing good money after bad, momentum is building in Washington for an auto industry bailout, much larger than the $25 billion already promised.
Congressional Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are in favor. President-elect Barack Obama has indicated that he is inclined to support some sort of rescue. And Bush administration opposition seems to be weakening.
On the day before the election, this letter to the editor was published in my local newspaper under the headline "Share the wealth:"
"All this talk of redistribution of the wealth reminds me of the story of Huey Long running for governor of Louisiana years ago. A man shining shoes in the barbershop was asked whom he was going to vote for.
"'Mr. Huey P. Long' was his reply. When asked why, he said, 'Cause Mr. Huey is going to take money from the rich and give it to all the poor folks.'
Conservative Republicans regularly accuse liberal Democrats to trying to solve problems by throwing money at them. The Federal Reserve has been throwing billions into the banking system to stabilize the credit markets and no one has been complaining about it.
This week the Fed participated in an unprecedented global rate cut: An orchestrated cut in interest rates with 20 other nations in an attempt to encourage financial institutions to borrow from their central banks and begin making loans to credit-starved businesses.Read More
Maybe it was necessary, this establishment-endorsed, fear-driven, hastily constructed $700 billion bailout gamble meant to avoid a devastating credit crunch. But whether it was or wasn't, it is towing something politically perilous in its train.
Again and again, this Wall Street package will be used as an excuse to try to take freedom out of our markets, to throttle them with excessive regulation and leave them shorn of the innovation and energy that add up to prosperity. It will be used as an excuse for something else, too -- the creation of a European-style welfare state.Read More
The Europeans watched bemusedly while the storms swept through the U.S. financial markets and the supposedly laissez faire Bush administration pleaded with Congress for a $700 billion government intervention in the marketplace.Read More
This is a cautionary tale.
In 1947, Gen. William "Wild Bill" Donovan proposed a new agency for gathering intelligence to replace the Office of Strategic Services OSS that he had headed so successfully in helping win World War II. The legendary spymaster would have been the logical choice to lead an effort that would be at the forefront of the fight against communism throughout the Cold War.Read More
For many major universities, their sports teams, especially their football and basketball teams, give them their proud persona. The teams and their star players are virtually worshipped.
But while sports bring schools fame, glamour and money, the value placed on sports often produces scandal and potential scandal, corruption, abuse and a culture of secrecy. Presidents, governing boards, coaches and university-friendly lawyers will go to great lengths to play down scandal, especially sexual assault, and hide it altogether.Read More
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt made headlines -- and got kudos -- for his department's proposal Wednesday to use postal workers to distribute protective antibiotics to individual households in the event of an anthrax attack.
A dry run in Philadelphia convinced officials that the concept could work. In that test, 50 mail carriers reached 55,000 households in less than eight hours, a level of penetration deemed successful.Read More
Endlessly, to some degree dangerously, commentators keep comparing the nation's present financial mess to the Great Depression, an assessment amiss in many ways but correct in at least one.
In both instances, it was largely government flubs prompting market malfunctions that sought out shoved calamity the public's way, and that's worth thinking about even if some are now saying we should fix the future instead of dwelling on what got us here.Read More