Toughen Up America, We Haven’t Seen a Repeat of History Yet
Compared to the history of the 20th and 21st century, of which I lived through 75 years, we haven’t yet seen anything that has befallen us, from unregulated markets, to tolerance of dictatorships around the world. What has reminded me of our history is yesterday’s revelation that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch does not believe that government agencies have the right to impose regulations, and today President Trump praising the President of Egypt and ignoring his jailing of 40,000 Muslim Brotherhood members, and an organizer of help for children.
Let’s work our way back in time. The 2008 super-recession under George W. Bush was caused by his relaxing market oversight on the bundling of “liar’s” junk home loans. My Orange County District’s Congressman Chris Cox played a distinct role in this when he became head of the SEC, with his strong preference for a totally unfettered market. So much for smart, Harvard educated lawyers. It took a Republican opposed bailout and President Obama’s entire term to slowly recover from that.
The Great Depression of 1929 also grew out of market naivety and lack of regulation, with speculation run amok. Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt brought us out of that. Judge Gorsuch thinks that those imposed regulations were unconstitutional. Whereas one would think that Trump’s handing over all government finances to Goldman Sach’s geniuses would be a public sacrifice for them out of the dearness of their hearts, the Trump dismantling of market regulations may well lead to another serious recession, although it may take eight years as it did for President Bush. Market professionals won’t point this out, because they have to live out the rest of their lives earning people’s trust. I’m not an economist, so it’s a free historical analogy for me.
In my lifetime, I have lived through World War II (though as a child), brought about by isolationism from Hitler’s aggression in Europe, and Japanese advances in the Pacific. Throw in Mussolini too. Trump’s cozying up to Egypt’s President el-Sisi, his former Chief Security Officer Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s involvement in Turkey’s fascist government, his former campaign head Paul Manafort’s election of Moscow’s man in Ukraine, his gift of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to Putin, his shakiness on protection for Japan from World War II, and Korea, from the Korean War, his travails with NATO from WWII, all smack of the same weakening that preceeded WWII.
I also lived through our heavy losses in Vietnam and the long protests of that war, which we eventually lost. Trump’s insistence on winning shows a lack of knowledge of how you cannot impose your will on a people. His insistence on taking Iraq’s oil shows his ignorance of international law, and his cutting the State Department by 29%, and of not filling its top ranks and consulting it, presages his dangerous stumbling around in foreign affairs.
Trump’s destruction of environmental rules presages many more Flint, Michigan crises. Once polluted, you cannot easily turn back the clock.
And so it goes.