Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why Embrace Defeat?

The Democrats have reportedly agreed to drop timetables from their funding bill. And Democrats are claiming defeat. I can't for the life of me see why.

The Democrats should remove these timetables and declare it a Republican defeat. Not a Democratic one. We have not "caved." We brought pressure to bear in a situation where we lack the power to coerce a favorable result. There is not enough support from Republicans to force the President's hand. This failure to stop the war lies at the feet of Republicans unwilling to join us. Not with us.

To those who say we should simply stop funding the military, you will have to recognize that this is not a viable option. Our C-i-C would use that as a justification for all kinds of mischief. He'd put our troops into even further needless danger. He'd use the lack of funding as an excuse to blame the Democrats for losing the war -- a meme that could well find traction. After all, the Republicans are about to start a Presidential campaign in which they all are against the war, all are in favor of withdrawal as soon as possible, and united only by their belief that the problems we've had are the fault of Defeat-o-crats. And while we won a righteous victory in 06, do not expect your fellow Americans to suddenly stop buying the Republican line of crap. Nah. Gon. Hapn.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This Nails it

I wish I had the talent of James Wolcott. In this post's 2d paragraph, he articulates my thought about 10 times better than I ever could my self. The master writes:

The ashy clouds over Mordor have parted, my friends. It was only a year or so ago that the Permanent Republican Majority seemed not only a grim possibility, but a stark near-inevitability. Karl Rove's master plan seemed to have a mortal lock on the political future. So downbeat was the daily news and so dispiriting the performance of the Democrats in 2004 that I had internalized liberalism's permanent underdog status, consoling myself that at least I lived in a liberal city in a liberal state and had plenty of company in the commisseration ward. But I also took heart in Emerson's insight that everything looks permanent until it's secret is known; that invisible cracks form deep in even the sturdiest structures and over time will not be denied. But "over time" can be a long time. Decades, even. And so much would not survive that long a wait.

He then goes on, of course, to herald the start of a new era of progressive ascendency, massive change on the near-horizon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Interesting Essay on Outsourcing

There's an interesting essay on today about outsourcing. Go read it and come back.

Some of the commenters say David is a big cry-baby for giving up steak dinners and ice cream ("CEO-ness," I think someone said) To them I say: you have no idea what David has given up. I'd guess he's lost quite a bit more than mere perks. Certainly his ego and self-esteem have taken a beating.

Secondly, to those who feel that David was a fool for putting in $2M to a dying business -- well, all I can say is, "nice hindsight, buddy." Why would you think David, his father, the SBA and the banks are such fools? Wait -- I know why.

In our post-Reagan society, people who experience loss DESERVE to. David isn't unlucky, or a victim of circumstance. No, out individual-centric worldview demands that his fate be somehow his fault. So to those who condemn David for looting his Dad, or his Dad for believing in him: shut up. You are simply wrong.

Finally, to the anti-globalization crowd: David's right, there is no stopping it. Not via tariffs, not via regulations, not via anything. Do you think the US government would have allowed Detroit to export all those jobs in the 70's and 80's if it had a choice?

The so-called "race to the bottom" is a fact of our market-based economy. In fact, the process of seeking ever cheaper production is what drives our economy and always has. It's why Europeans invested in North America in the 17th century. It's why Phildelphia is crowded with office buildings built for companies who have long ago moved out or closed. It's why India is finding that it's ability to attract jobs is being undercut by lower cost providers in Manilla and Malaysia.

The lesson to be learned from all this one that David is just beginning to grasp. Our market-based system has been one of the great creations of humankind. Of course it has limits, and it must be carefully regulated to work to society's advantage. What's missing now is not market mechanisms, or tariffs, or a soul. What's missing now is the simple faith that the future will bring us new opportunities and new rewards. And this faith is, in my experience, largely a product of a society's leaders.

It's what endeared FDR to a couple of generations of Americans. It's what made JFK seem cool. It's what makes Obama seem cool. It's even, God help my immortal soul, what made people like Reagan (the evil bastard!).

David's bankruptcy lawyer was right. He's a young man, with obvious gifts. He'll survive, maybe even thrive again. The future's like globalization: there's no stopping it.

We would do well not only to recognize that but to embrace it. One of the posters commented that the government has robbed us to give money to defense contractors, etc. I think this is right. What we should be doing instead is investing that same money in our future. We should be saying to David and everyone else who is trying make their way, "we've got your back. Your healthcare is on us. Your kids' education is on us. You won't starve or become homeless." And we should do that not because we're interested in creating a class of people addicted to a nanny-state. We should do that because we believe in David and in each other.

If David were a stock, I'd be ready to invest (if I had any money, that is!). Our future can be a great and wonderful thing, but only if we let go of the past and start to invest in it by investing in ourselves.