Other than this blog, I try to not discuss politics. However, sometimes people say things that are so insane they warrant a response.
Like while I was talking with a friend of mine named Bob this past weekend at hunting camp. He was trying to convince me that the Great Depression happened due to lack of government intervention and that FDR was needed to end it.
I had to correct him. The Great Depression did not happen because of not enough government intervention, it happened because of TOO MUCH government intervention. If the government had left the markets fend for themselves, it probably would have been a short depression.
"Oh, come on," Bob mocked me. "You're full of it."
"Listen," I said. "There were several depressions in the 1800s and all of them were less than three years in length. And while some experts wanted the President to intervene, they all refused. Because of that, these depressions were short lived."
"Oh, come on, he mocked me. "You're full of it."
"Nope. Hoover decided to help the poor by raising taxes. What this did was take more money out of the pockets of people who already didn't have any. So a recession turned into a depression. Then FDR came into office, and he took even more money out of people's pockets.
"So, while so many people thought FDR was helping, he was actually making things worse. He was a good talker. He was a good talker the way Obama is a good talker."
My friend laughed at me.
"The Great Depression did not end because of FDR, it did not end because of WWII. In fact, the depression didn't end until after WWII was over."
"You're full of it."
"No. If the depression was over during the war, why were people forced to ration. Rationing isn't something you tell people to do when a depression is over."
He looked at me with his lips puckered. By this time the rest of the guys at camp are circling around us eager to chime in.
"So this current financial crisis was not caused by president Bush," I added. "We are not going to let teachers and the media tell this lie. The reason this financial crisis occurred was because of too much government intervention.
My other friend Rich chimed in, "It started out as a noble idea during the Carter and Clinton administrations. They wanted to make sure every person could get into a home. So, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced to buy out loans to people they knew couldn't afford it, this skyrocketed the number of houses sold. This, in turn, caused the value of homes to artificially skyrocket.
I said, "Bush Warned about this. McCain warned about this. Liberal democrats like Chris Dodd (who benefited the most from this financially and politically) refused to admit there was a problem. And now it's men like Dodd -- who caused this problem in the first place -- who we are letting solve this crisis.
Rich said, "The only reason Bush wants to do this liberal $700 trillion bailout program is because he knows the media will once again convince America that he is the blame for this crisis, and he has to be seen as doing something."
"But," Bob said, "We had to bail out Wall Street. We couldn't allow all these businesses to go under."
Rich said, "During the Clinton recession of 2000," I said, "Nobody said anything about helping all those 300 plus banks then that went out of business. How does anybody learn if we keep bailing out failing businesses. If you fail at running a business, why should we reward you?"
Bob said, "We can't let the economy crash."
Rich said, "The economy has survived far worse than this. It is a resilient economy, the most resilient ever. While liberals see the economy as sucky, conservatives tend to have a more optimistic outlook on it. Hence McCain saying, 'the fundamentals of the economy are sound.'
I said, "The fundamentals of the economy are sound and will continue to be sound SO LONG AS THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T DO SOMETHING STUPID TO SCREW IT UP."
Political discussions at camp are all in good fun for me at least. One of my friends, Rich, thinks it is a battle of good versus evil. I understand his POV, but I'd never go there.
Unlike my other conservative friends, I'm not a partisan and am willing to compromise, so long as compromise doesn't mean giving up on my principles.
While this discussion was all in good fun, a part of me is irritated that one of my friends is brainwashed. Some day, somehow, something I say he's going to mull over and over in his mind, and some day the light will go on.
That's why it's important to never give up. Yet, to have fun in the process. Because if you get mad, you lose.