Episode I: The Naive Menace

From: Anakin Skywalker [mailto:tuskenbuster@tatooine.com] Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 5:46 PM
To: Qui-Gon Jinn
Subject: Hello
I’m sure you were expecting to hear from me sooner, but between school and work I’ve been hard pressed to find the time to write you. Nonetheless I am excited about striking up a correspondence with you. Padme speaks very highly of you. From what I understand you are quite intelligent and well informed, which intrigues me greatly given what I have heard about your political leanings. I don’t know the extent to which she has told you about me, but I’m guessing you know our politics are somewhat at odds. The purpose of this email, and hopefully those to come, is to pick your brain and allow you to pick mine so as to identify the source of this disparity.
I understand that opinions differ and rightfully so. However, I don’t subscribe to the idea that politics can’t or shouldn’t be discussed in polite company. I also reject the notion that where differences of opinion arise regarding public policy that we can “agree to disagree.” More often than not when this approach is taken the result is one idea winning by default. The issues our country faces today are too important to be left unresolved in the name of political correctness or expediency. Since neither of us have anything to lose by laying all our cards on the table, it is my hope that we may have a more candid and productive debate than politicians on either side of the aisle.
That being said, I feel very passionately about my beliefs, as I’m sure you do about yours. As such I have been known to come across as abrasive. Since we don’t really know each other, I hope you can believe me when I say it won’t be personal if I do. Likewise, I will not take it to heart if you let loose with both barrels. I presume the article Padme gave me (4 Myths About Free Markets-and Their Demise) was in line with your thinking on economics. I’ve been working on a refutation of these “myths” but it is rather long and still somewhat unrefined so I haven’t included it in this email. I figured it would be best to establish contact and confirm that it is in fact representative of your thoughts before I attempt to refute it. I hope this is the beginning of a constructive exchange of ideas.

Anakin Skywalker

From: quigon_jinn@kotor.com
To: tuskenbuster@tatooine.com
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 09:46:24 -0500
Subject: RE: Hello

Game on. Sounds like fun. What world problem do you wish to solve first?

You spoke about the article and free markets. Let’s start there.

Since you plan to run for office, I will let you begin with your stand on free markets. What is your idea of how a free market works and what should the government do or not do to return us to that point.


From: Anakin Skywalker [mailto:tuskenbuster@tatooine.com] Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2009 1:08 PM
To: Qui-Gon Jinn
Subject: RE: Hello

I believe the free market is a refinement of the crude “law of the jungle.” I believe that it, as with other pillars of civilization, is an example of mankind first recognizing its basest instincts and then harnessing them to his advantage rather than wishing them away. We each have a self preservation instinct that can be characterized as greed. In the wild this greed causes animals to literally destroy one another for their piece of the pie, so to speak. Humans, by virtue of our intellect and spirit, have managed to lay some ground rules to minimize this potential for violence. In effect, by channeling this self preservation and self improvement instinct in a civilized framework, individual success contributes to societal success by means of the example set to other individuals and the expansion of the operation to include other individuals. Because this framework can apply to virtually anything man desires, the free market is not confined by the finite resources of this planet. The exchange of goods and services provides endless opportunities for individuals to better themselves and those around them, so long as the terms of that exchange are determined by those engaged in it.
Admittedly, my historical knowledge is somewhat lacking (which I hope to correct) concerning where government action may have helped, but all around us are glaring examples of where its intercession has harmed transactions, from minimum wage (which restricts freedom of both the employer and employee) to punitive taxes on certain commodities.
As for Rick Newman’s condemnation of free markets in his article, I offer the following refutation.

Myth 1: They’re fair
Newman proposes that free markets are not fair, that equilibrium isn’t guaranteed. From an individual’s perspective this is true. Anecdotal evidence abounds to support this claim, but the economy is more than a collection of individuals and their woes or fortunes. It is an organism unto itself that defies quantification. The very concept of equilibrium implies the ups and downs characterized by these anecdotes, and it cannot be observed in microcosm. As such, when the word “fair” is evoked in defense of the free market it is not to imply that every participant will come away feeling they got a good deal, but that in a world where winning and losing are inherent to that equilibrium, no individual or collection of 435 individuals is better suited to arbitrate “fairness” than the natural ebb and flow.
When “losers lose hard,” as the article puts forth, it is all relative. I imagine the average inhabitant of, say, Kenya would jump at the opportunity to switch places with even the hardest hit victim of our current economic woes. In the case of monopolies, it is misleading to characterize them as the inevitable conclusion of the free market as the article does. The necessity of a specialized term alone denotes that they are an exception rather than the norm. It is also interesting to note the sense of entitlement inherent in the objection to monopolies. Consider the computer. Just because the demand for a commodity grows to be virtually universal doesn’t mean that its inventor should be punished and his creation becomes public domain. Monopolies are only deemed as such when society tires of playing by the indelible rules of supply and demand.

Myth 2: They’re unregulated
The article goes on to suppose that few would prefer the truly unregulated market of 150 years ago. I, for one, would prefer it, and I’m not alone in this thought. When did the phrase “buyer beware” fall by the wayside? If we write new regulations every time the consumer feels slighted we’ll be no closer to fairness in the market than if we were to do so whenever the producer feels the same. At the end of the day the consumer is just as concerned with his bottom line as the merchant. The consumer will undercut just as ruthlessly as the merchant , haggling or literally stealing when he feels he can get away with it. What’s fair is when the best man wins, not when Big Brother steps in and picks one side over the other. Moreover, the fact that we’ve taken that approach for decades is not a testament to its validity, but rather a testament to our all too frequent propensity to cede our independence back to our government. When did the citizenry who took arms against the mightiest empire on the planet to assert its financial and sovereign identity turn into the citizenry who bites its nails in panic if today’s crowns aren’t there to hold its hand through every transaction?

Myth 3: They’re efficient
Newman then contends that efficacy of the free market seizes up “when problems develop across the whole system.” Looking past the vagueness of this assertion, we’ll analyze the given example: the burst of the housing bubble. The bubble didn’t form because the free market was left to its own devices, it formed as a result of the free market reacting to a perversion of its principles. The market only seized because the terms of loans had become so elastic and convoluted that banks didn’t know who to trust with their clients’ money. This happened because misguided idealists decided that the standards that had preserved the banking industry and helped it thrive need not apply when dealing with the underprivileged. Newman admits that market solutions do emerge but insists that it can be bloody and destructive. If banks were assaulting clients and burning down their homes we may have reason to call for government action, but all they’re doing is looking after they’re own interests like everyone else. It’s precisely because the feds thought they knew better than practicing economists and bankers how to handle banking and the economy that we are in this bind. As for the “appeal of government intervention,” Newman is woefully naïve if he believes the federal government acts in anybodies interest but its own.
It is within human capacity to be benevolent, and an individual may prove to be an exception, but most people look after themselves first. The same rules apply in positions of power as in the rest of the world. This is why even the most benevolent autocracies trample liberty when their rule is threatened. Our system of government fragments power so no one person holds too much. The founders were careful not to split the power up too much though. They realized that the more people running the show the more apt we are to have that self preservation instinct manifest itself into law.

Myth 4: They’re cheap
The last line says it all: “with less regulation, there’s a lot less for Congress to do.” How does a Congressman get reelected? He pretends to be busy. I believe this desire by Congressmen to have some piece of legislation to show for their terms is convoluting the rule of law and building a juggernaut of a bureaucracy that is more threatening to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than any monopoly to have ever come down the pike. If Americans woke up tomorrow with the realization that no matter what Congress does or doesn’t do regarding the economy our country will still be here, imagine how desperately our elected officials would clamor to manufacture the next crisis that only they can solve. Only one accustomed to the circus that has become of our government expects a safety net when things don’t go his or her way. In the real world, when we fall we hurt ourselves. No amount of legislation is going to change that.
I tend to believe that the rupture of the housing bubble is about as devastating as that of dot come bubble, but supposing a market solution would cost more than the bailout, at least it would solve the problem rather than exacerbating it by temporarily placating it and hoping that human nature will spontaneously change. Again we shoot ourselves in the foot by thinking we can assess the economy on a day to day or even year to year basis. When viewed this way it’s easy to throw out figures and claim that a bailout is the cheaper option, but over the long haul it will only cause more crises down thre road with untold costs. The reason its referred to as a bubble is that it has been slowly inflating year after year, during which time we can point to all sorts of indicators that things are going splendidly. It eventually pops though, and the lesson to be learned from this is that no matter how shiney or big the bubble we blow it won’t last, and we’ll be left with the same harsh realities we started blowing bubbles to distract ourselves from.

From: quigon_jinn@kotor.com
To: tuskenbuster@tatooine.com
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 17:47:15 -0400
Subject: RE: Hello
With all that being said, I am still trying to understand your “model” of a free market system. You made many points, but now let’s string them together into the Skywalker Economic Theory.

Things to ponder:

You said free market is an extension of “law of the jungle”. You said greed is what causes animals to act in self interest. But at what point do humans give up on greed “by virtue of our intellect and spirit” to establish rules by which we no longer kill each other for resources (or pie)? How do humans organize to establish such rules? How do we determine the “terms of exchange”?

Myth 1: “Monopolies are only deemed as such when society tires of playing by the indelible rules of supply and demand”. However, monopolies do not work by the rules of supply and demand. What society is trying to do is to return to a competitive environment where the rules supply and demand do function.

Myth 2: Before you say you prefer the “unregulated” market of 150 years ago, we may need to revisit just what markets looked like then, why they became regulated. (This will be for a later discussion).

Myth 3: The housing bubble was not formed by “idealist”, but by the combination of political influence (idealist in your words), greed from banks and investment firms, monetary policy making money cheap, home buyers looking for good deals they could not afford (greed), and several other factors. We can also talk about this later, but it is way too easy to try and blame one group for a collaborative venture (or misadventure).

Myth 4: “If Americans woke up tomorrow with the realization that no matter what Congress does or doesn’t do regarding the economy our country will still be here,”  First, if this is true, you are saying it doesn’t really matter what Congress does, then how does Congress have the ability to manufacture or unmanufacture an economic crisis? If you feel they can influence the economy in a negative way then the opposite must hold true.

SIDEBAR: Economic and competitive equilibrium is a tricky thing. Economist and social scientist borrowed this term from physical science. Forces of nature are constant (i.e gravity) which make things like heat, pressure, chemical reaction act predictably since they act nonrationally. However, people act rationally, irrationally, and nonrationally. People act out of fear, love, hate, jealousy, pity, guilt, sex, and numerous other human wants, needs, and desires. This make understanding markets or anything else involving humans difficult since all actors do not act predictably.

Historical quote:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”    Thomas Jefferson.

From: Anakin Skywalker [mailto:tuskenbuster@tatooine.com] Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:09 AM
To: Qui-Gon Jinn
Subject: The Skywalker Economic Theory
I don’t have a “model” for the market. I believe the free market often defies models. I suppose I mispoke when I said it was an extension of the law of the jungle. The free market is a facet of the law of the jungle that achieved definition when mankind became civilized. We didn’t create it, we only gave it a name. While models may help our understanding of it, they will never contain or control it. We may come close to doing so, but it is when we think we have control of it down to an exact science that it will surprise and humble us. Thus, we must recognize and expect the occasional failures of these models if they are to prove to be assets rather than liabilities.

I regret that I used the word “greed.” I did so to diffuse its possible use, but I suppose I only invited it. I don’t believe greed is what causes animals to act in their own self interest. I observe self preservation to be an instinct of all living things and I believe that we arbitrarily label it as greed when we run afoul of the display of such from others. As I said, it can be characterized as greed. As to when we give up on it, we don’t. At some point in our ancient history we began to channel it into productive endeavors, and it is our intellect and spirit which allowed us to do so where animals could not. We established currency to stand in for the concept of value and allow for the accumulation of such. Beyond that no rules need exist to govern markets. They will govern themselves just like any other natural system. As for determining the terms of exchange, we don’t unless we are directly involved in said exchange. If I have no direct stake in the sale of a house or the hiring of an employee I should have no say in how much money exchanges hands or when the agreement they settle upon is deemed to have been violated.

I realize I probably sound like an anarchist sometimes, but I assure you I’m not. I am still formulating my thoughts on government in general, but they’re coming along nicely. Whatever details I have to work out on that subject, I am adamant in rejecting the notion that it is government’s place to control the means of production and the distribution of wealth, which is exactly what it is trying to do now in this country.

You said that monopolies don’t work by the rules of supply and demand. How so? Was it not the demand of consumers for the ease of communication provided by telephone companies and the short supply of such that caused the Bell Telephone company to be dubbed a monopoly. Was it not the demand for more convenient travel and more lucrative export provided by railroads and the consolidation of such in a few companies that earned them that dreaded title? If anything, it would seem to me that they are the best examples to illustrate the concept of supply and demand, albeit an unfortunate one to those getting the short end of the stick.

As for the housing bubble, if you’ll remember I didn’t give home buyers, banks, and investment firms a free pass. I said the free market (in this case embodied by the aforementioned entities) reacted to perversions of its principles. The banks and investment firms normally wouldn’t lend to people or companies that they couldn’t reasonably expect to pay them back or earn them returns. Home buyers normally wouldn’t overextend themselves unless they were reasonably sure they could get away with it. The reason each of these entities felt they could do so or should do so was because of the artifice introduced into the market by government regulations.

Again, I feel you missed the most pivotal words in my argument. I don’t decry idealism. I myself am an unabashed idealist, as I suspect our countries founders were. I blamed misguided idealists for blowing the bubble. It was their belief that we could arbitrate prosperity rather than earn it. Since they were in a position of power and authority, society at large nibbled at the carrots they dangled and followed them over a cliff. I realize that is a simplification, but as I said at the onset of this email all we can hope to assess of the economy as a whole is a simplification. I know more went into the housing bubble than it is within our scope to discuss or understand. I’m not even saying that a bubble or the resultant collapse wouldn’t have happened without government intervention. To again return to my first paragraph, all models, even those used by the private sector, are subject to failure. I do contend however that the problem would have been more easily isolated and solved if government actions hadn’t aggravated the situation. Even now, amidst all the hardship our country endures, I am saddened more by our inability to learn from our mistakes than my the misery that we’re told is so prevalent. This burst bubble constitutes a national crisis because we entrusted our government with too widespread authority, so our answer is to entrust them with even more.

As for my assertion that the country would still be here regardless of the actions of Congress, I didn’t mean to imply that it doesn’t matter what Congress does. I only meant to say that the country would still be here because it doesn’t owe its existence to some fiat of Congress. It owes its existence to the Constitution, and it owes its prosperity to the limitations that Constitution puts on the government. The federal government wasn’t formed to make the country run, but rather to see to it that no forces interfere with the country running itself. Congress doesn’t exist so it can make rules every time it convenes. It exists so it can convene periodically to see if rules need to be made or action needs to be taken. Career politicians have managed to convince many people that a deadlocked Congress is a bad thing, that Congress isn’t doing its job unless there is legislation to show for their time. What these people forget is that more legislation, no matter how noble or well intentioned, amounts to more rules. More rules means less freedom.

Of course it matters what Congress does. It’s precisely because it matters so much that I believe Congressional action shouldn’t be a force of habit but should only be brought about by necessity. Moreover, Congress should confine its actions and intercessions into daily life to the charges it was specifically given. I included the clause “regarding the economy” because it’s entirely possible that our country could cease to exist if Congress doesn’t continue to take steps to ensure that our enemies don’t get their way. Congress can manufacture an economic crisis by believing itself to be the responsible for the economy in the first place.

I take issue with your assertion that if I believe Congress can negatively impact the economy then I must also believe they can affect it positively. First of all that logic doesn’t hold. If a house fire or a rape can affect someone’s life negatively, must it also be true that these occurrences can affect his or her life positively? Certainly not. Secondly, since it is not the place of federal authority to manage the economy, any action taken by Congress to do so is inherently restrictive of that institution, even if it proports to bolster a facet of it for a time.

To end on a conciliatory note, I agree with your last statement about the difficulty we face analyzing systems dependent on human action. I think this difficulty is precisely why no one can say for certain what should be done to get the economy back on track. Amidst this uncertainty I believe it is grossly irresponsible to codify into law anyone’s theory.

From: quigon_jinn@kotor.com
To: tuskenbuster@tatooine.com
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 17:05:15 -0400
Subject: RE: The Skywalker Economic Theory

Mr. President,

The purpose of me asking for a “model” is for clarity and understanding of thought, not to control. Of course model and theories fail, that’s why we call them theories and model and not laws. This was more for me and my simple mind to understand and not to pick a fight.

I understand the use of greed. I see greed, self interest, self preservation, as the same. I understand what you are saying; living things act to benefit themselves. However, as humans we do at some point give up on our on self-interest for that of a group. This can be in the form of a family, that works together of the benefits of all; a tribe that hunts together to share food and gather resources. There are many examples of humans giving up resources that may hurt them for the benefit of the group, even there own lives. This also extends to free markets. Rules do need to exist to govern markets. Let’s say you know someone who plays in a band. And let’s say the band writes a great song and you record it and it hits the airways. Then a band down the street records YOUR song and begins selling it. Would you not like to have a rule to protect your property rights?

On the subject of monopolies. My point was that once a monopoly is formed the rules of supply and demand go out the window. Monopolies form to control supply and therefore control price. Do you prefer monopolies?

Housing bubble: I am not sure just where you see the government’s involvement in the mess. You said the banks would normally not lend to people who can not repay. What “artifice” was introduced by the government to cause this? Did the government force banks to make loans? Did the government force everyone to nibble the carrots or did they have free will to nibble the carrots? To learn from our mistakes, we must clearly identify just what the mistake was. If we misidentify it, then we have learned nothing.

My logic does hold about Congress. It is your logic that doesn’t hold. It is not a matter if rape is good or not, it deals with the act of sex. Sex forced upon someone is bad; sex in a mutual loving relationship is good. Fire that burns a house is bad, fire used to cook or power and engine is good.

Funny you say the country does owe its existence to Congress, the first words of the Declaration of Independence is “In Congress”. Congress declared our independence, organized the country to fight and win the Revolutionary War. However, that is just to get you going and not to say that the American people must pay homage, tribute, or otherwise swear allegiance to congress ad infinitum. Just to point out that Congress has done some really good stuff and that it is not a seven headed beast. By the way, if you dislike Congress so much, why did you vote to reelect your current Congressman who has been there since 1988?

Actions by the government are not “inherently” restrictive.

Let’s say there is this Irishman named Shanahan. I run my liquor store and wish not to sell to you because you are Irish. Do I have that right under a “facet” of the law of the jungle?

Future Mr. President, you tell me you are not an anarchist, but you tell all the things you dislike. But how would you change things so I will support you in the upcoming election?


RE: The Skywaler Economic Theory

Anakin Skywalker

Sat 3/14/2009 11:29 PM

Qui-Gon Jinn (quigon_jinn@kotor.com)


No titles necessary. Even if by some miracle I pull it off and earn that title, I wouldn’t expect that level of formality in this casual of an exchange.

You’re right. To become part of a society an individual must amend some of his self preservation instincts. I understand your point that a line must be drawn to maintain a level of peace and order within that society, but drawing that line doesn’t erase our instincts. I use the word “amend,” because I recognize that the group mentality is just as prone to its self preservation instincts as that of the individual. As I see it, all of all your examples fall under the umbrella of self preservation. A family works together for the benefit of the family, not the neighborhood; a tribe hunts to sustain itself, without allotting provisions for the other tribes in the region, let alone preserving the lives of their prey. Heroes sacrifice their lives, for their community, for their country, but rarely for something in which they have no stake. These sacrifices only occur when the person has identified themselves with or invested themselves in a group.

I fail to see how the ideas of sacrifice and altruism apply to copyright infringement. Who is acting against self preservation in this instance, the band who stole the song? Is it some great sacrifice that our society forbids us to steal? You’re correct in pointing out the necessity for laws protecting property rights, but again these laws don’t govern the market. They lay the groundwork for the market to function. By establishing property rights we only reinforce the concept of the individual. This isn’t to discount altruism. To the contrary, altruism is granted its virtue by the fact that it is a voluntary forfeiting of one’s assets. Thus altruism is borne of the concept of property and not the other way around.

I’m also having trouble understanding how the rules of supply and demand go out the window in a monopoly. Every business seeks to control supply. If you’re the only shop in town to have the new widget, you’d be a fool to share your source with the competition. Not every business has the luxury of such a bottleneck of resources, so prices generally remain reasonable. Occasionally, though, a business has that luxury and prices can get out of hand, but this is still in direct proportion to the demand for those resources. The rules of supply and demand are still firmly in place in a monopoly, though it is fair to say they are being abused. No, I do not prefer monopolies, John. I find them as repugnant as the next person, but as I said before, they are not the inevitable conclusion of capitalism. Not every CEO is swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck with no concern for society. When someone does abuse the system the answer isn’t to abandon the system. We can’t praise supply and demand when we get a good deal and decry when we don’t. In the case of abuse, we use the system against the abuser. If we really feel it is unfair to pay those prices, we make other arrangements and watch demand shrivel.

Logic does tend to get skewed within metaphors I suppose. I could have structured the house fire/rap analogy better. True, fire can be productive and the beauty of consensual sex is the antithesis of the gruesome spectacle of rape. If we’re broadening the metaphor to liken Congressional action to fire or sex, then the positive sides of each would be Congress acting within its authority and the negative sides with them overstepping that authority. Admittedly, I haven’t read the entire Constitution (I’ve started,) and I know Congress is granted authority to set tariffs and such, but I don’t recall them being granted the authority to mold the economy as they see fit, much less nationalize industries.

If I’m not mistaken the Congress referred to in the Declaration of Independence was the Constitutional Congress not the United States Congress. This may seem to be a technicality, but it validates my point. You’re giving today’s lawmakers way too much credit to put them on the level of our founders. Our founders bent over backwards to minimize their own power while today’s Congressmen do everything they can to preserve and gain power for themselves. I do realize that not every Congressman or woman is a power hungry sociopath and that the institution itself is not an evil behemoth. I know some good has come from their actions, but from where I’m sitting the cons are far outweighing the pros at this point. As for voting to reelect my incumbent, you presume correctly that I did. I don’t have disgust for Congress, only for its tendency to find mandates where none exist. By my assessment, Rep. John Duncan Jr. (to whom I assume you were referring) was less likely to do so than the opposition. If a Democrat had been able to point out misconduct by Rep. Duncan and couple that revelation with reassurance that he or she wouldn’t succumb to the same temptation I would have voted for him instead.

I didn’t say actions by the government are inherently restrictive. I said actions by it to control the economy are inherently restrictive. Congress can set a budget, the President can command our armed forces, and the Supreme Court can strike down laws that try to skirt the Constitution (to name but a few of the valid actions that can be taken without restricting liberty,) but the instant they decide to micromanage the lives of each citizen they are subscribing to the very same tyranny we sought to liberate ourselves from in the first place, albeit in smaller, more palatable doses.

In the instance of a business refusing to sell to someone who’s Irish, it absolutely has that right. If the liquor is bought and paid for it is the owner’s right to decide what to do with it. He could decide to sell only to the Irish if that is his wish. We do not have the inalienable right to liquor, let alone to buy it from a particular store. If one store owner is so close minded as to not cater to a minority he punishes himself by losing out on that business, simultaneously allowing competitors an opportunity to gain an upper hand on him.

In the example of widespread segregation, as I’m sure your mind is straying to, that is a cultural problem that can’t be solved overnight by a piece of legislation. I’m not suggesting that we backtrack from the Civil Rights movement, only that I believe the its aim should have been to convince state governments to rescind existing laws that discriminated against minorities (if ever there were any,) not to trump those laws with another, bigger law that makes it illegal to discriminate. We can’t make somebody break a bad habit by simply making it illegal. If we do that we only entrench a portion of society deeper within its bad habits while simultaneously labeling them criminals. If we want them to change, and for that change to stick, we have to hit at the root of the problem, and that calls for more finesse and flexibility than the federal government is capable of.

My plan for change is this: before any new legislation is proposed or approved we need to clean the slate on as many things as possible. With so many tangents and “temporary fixes” that have been held over we can do nothing but grow our government by approaching any situation without this approach. If you’ve got a barn with faded, chipping paint, you don’t keep painting on top of the old flakes and lay it on so thick that you can’t see the cracks. If you honestly want to make that barn vibrant and good as new again, you must chip away what you can of the existing paint, sand it down smooth, and then you can pick up the paint brush again. If we want to fix a problem we must search the exhaustive books we already have to make absolutely sure that problem hasn’t been addressed before. If it has we must see whether its failure to fix the problem was a result of halfhearted implementation or a fundamental flaw in the law itself. If the former is true our course if obvious: enforce the law. If the latter is true we need to rework or repeal the law in question.

In essence my platform is the destruction of platforms, not of parties but of business as usual within them. We’ve been building platform on top of platform for two centuries and we wonder why it’s rickety and why it’s so devastating when the scaffolding gives in places. I believe politics is the bane of American government and that is where I hope to make the biggest and most significant impact. It is my hope, lofty as I know it seems, to remind the country that we have too much to lose to stand by and let elitists guide our destinies when that affront is what spurred our country’s inception. I know I’m not the smartest guy in the room, and the point of our government is to take that humility to heart. We don’t need to be randomly selecting our leaders from a hat, but we also needn’t go too far in the other direction. Public office isn’t supposed to be a superlatives roster. Our leaders as supposed to be representative of their districts, not just in policy but in character as well. We want the best person for the job, but a lot of the time the best person for the job isn’t the smartest or most learned or most cultured. I believe the the current political climate in this country is primed for an overhaul, as evidenced by the wide support of a candidate whose only major selling point was the words “change” and “hope.”

I didn’t mean to elaborate as much as I did on that last part. I don’t want to move on to new topics unless we’ve found a comprehensive compromise or one side admits conceptual defeat on the issue at hand.


P.S. I didn’t forget about the housing bubble “artifice” question or intend to sidestep it. As it stands I know just enough about it to potentially stick my foot in my mouth, and I didn’t want to get into it until I had something a little more solid to run with. I know it has something to do with the the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and some reinforcements during the Clinton administration. More to come on that…