My first two installments are here and here. Let’s continue.

  • When did it start making good business sense for the U.S. to hold preferred stock positions in small local banks, as the new small business stimulus allows?
  • When did it become fiscally responsible to have to borrow just to pay interest on the National Debt?
  • When did it become fiscally responsible governing to owe so much money to a country like China?
  • When did we become a nation in which WE THE PEOPLE told the government what we wanted, and then were ignored by those whom we voted into office?

When did it make business sense not let the economy collapse? Sometimes it is mind-boggling that conservatives ask these questions. Let’s go back. The U.S. economy was in freefall. Because of complex derivatives, credit default swaps, CDOs and other exotic financial tools, our banks are more interconnected than ever. It turns out that almost 1/4 of the banks in the United States own stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You don’t have to be a financial genius to figure out that if some of these banks have borrowed against these stock holdings, they are in trouble. The question is, what would be the intelligent way to stabilize small banks? Conservative ideology would tell you to let the market sort it out. Translation: let millions more Americans lose their jobs, let the credit markets seize up and convince Americans this is all for their own good. Or, intervene, stabilize the markets, stabilize the small banks and mitigate the suffering and loss for the American people. One way can keep Americans working and the other invites a second Great Depression.

When did it become fiscally responsible to have to borrow just to pay interest on the national debt? Where’ve you been? Republicans haven’t been fiscally responsible since before Nixon. The interest on our national debt in 1988, the last year of the “Great Communicator” was $214 billion. Where was your outrage then? When George H. W. Bush and then George W. Bush, the sequel, never presented a balanced budget to Congress, where was your outrage?  I guess it became okay to let China buy our debt when it became okay to go to war over oil. A war that we never budgeted for, never decided to sell war bonds to pay for. Where was your outrage… then? I have a huge problem with this selective financial argument. Look, if you want to be financially responsible then let’s have an honest discussion on how D’s and R’s aren’t getting it done. If we are going stand around and fear-monger, then I don’t have time for that. Sorry.

When the majority of Americans decided they did not want to go to war in Iraq, where was your frustration, outrage and condescension? Gallup polls just before the invasion show the majority of Americans were not in favor of the war. How was that different? Was that just a strong president being decisive?

So, instead of asking thoughtful questions we have a list of partisan pet peeves. That’s fine, but it does nothing to further our national debate. How do we get out of this massive debt hole? I’m happy to have the discussion. I’m happy to have the discussion just as long as everything is on the table, but for the most part, conservatives don’t want everything on the table. The defense budget is off-limits. When did it become fiscally responsible to spend tens of billions on missile defense when test after test has shown that it doesn’t work? We don’t have the available technology right now. Why don’t we scale back, go back to the drawing board, something? Instead, we keep throwing good money after bad. I’m happy to have the discussion about cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits as long as conservatives are happy to have the discussion about raising taxes. If the goal is to decrease deficits, then we need to increase revenues and decrease expenses. Put everything on the table. Now let’s have the discussion.