Scandals! Shootings! War! Is there any end to the bad news?
The short answer is, “No.” Given that we will always have some terrible news to react to, it’s worth sometimes ignoring it and thinking about what a better world might look like. The idea is that by being calm and rational one might provide an example for the rest of the world to also be calm and rational.
Too Big to Fail. It’s not just a description, it’s a political mantra – we have banks which have grown to the point where government cannot manage a potential collapse and the whole system goes down. Why not just bust them up?
There are actually a lot of good reasons why something much more subtle has to be done, as well as something more comprehensive. That doesn’t sell as well on the campaign trail, where the evil banks are a handy villain for all of our economic ills. Yet it’s vitally important because it’s entirely possible that in a rush to regulate we might do something which is not only dangerous but misses the real problem entirely.
Is the Federal Reserve nothing but a tool for big banks? According to an op-ed by Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT), it sure looks that way. The presidential candidate and hero to millions of progressives made the case for an audit, tighter controls, and other measures to rein in the nation’s central banking system.
There are clearly problems with the Fed and it’s very mixed charters to tame inflation, encourage full employment, maintain the value of the US Dollar, and regulate banks. The more presence and power the Fed gains the more this is an important issue. But today’s “progressives” aren’t in a mood for just reform – many are in a mood to “End the Fed!”
While that position is understandable it’s horribly misguided. But it’s a great highlight for the tension inherent in not-that-subtle difference between a “liberal” and a “progressive”. And it’s ultimately a rather irresponsible position that Sanders is taking.
There is probably no more contentious issue at the crossroads of politics and technology than hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process, where oil and gas drillers chew up rock deep in the earth, is responsible for the major oil boom that produced so much oil it collapsed into the current bust – with very low oil prices. It also creates a lot of environmental damage and, as a relatively new technology, is remarkably unregulated.
New rules were introduced for fracking on federal land on Friday by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Eagerly awaiting them were the drilling industry and environmentalists, both of which had a big stake in the regulations. If you are a long time follower of these procedures, or simply a cynic, it might come as no surprise that both sides are unhappy.