Wednesday, October 01, 2008

FDR: "...above all, try something."

As the world credit markets freeze up, ideologues on the right and left seem willing to take down the economic system to spite their opponents.  What we need is leadership, and we have none. In another time, not too different from our own, we had such daring men who recognized tragedy and were not afraid to act.

Perhaps I am more sensitive because here in Michigan we have been suffering depression-like unemployment and economic stagnation for several years.  The hope was that we were the aberration and that the mass of wealth and growth from elsewhere would help to heal our ills, but instead it is becoming more apparent that the virus of mismanagement has infected the entire "economic machine." 

The choice is to dither away precious time pontificating about the perfect plan to thaw the credit markets, or to take a more immediate approach and refine it later if necessary.  The paralysis of such analysis comes at a large price and it is stunning the chances that political operatives are willing to take with the world's well-being.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1932:

"We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer.

"We have not been brought to our present state by any natural calamity -- by drought or floods or earthquakes or by the destruction of our productive machine or our man power.  This is the awful paradox with which we are confronted, a stinging rebuke that challenges our power to operate the economic machine which we have created."

The country needs and -- unless I mistake its temper -- the country demands bold, persistent experimentation.  It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."

No comments: