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How Much Can the Government Do?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week, the JOURNAL featured wide-ranging conversations about America’s economy and William F. Buckley, Jr.’s contribution to the conservative movement.

Both guests on the broadcast, liberal economist James K. Galbraith and conservative writer Richard Brookhiser, engaged a fundamental question that people have been debating for centuries and that cuts to the core of recent disputes about economic stimulus and health reform: how much is the government capable of doing?

Galbraith argued that past federal programs have been successful and that the U.S. government should focus on creating more programs to pursue broad social goals:

“There’s been a massive collapse, a collapse which is comparable in scale to 1930. The overall economy hasn’t come down nearly as much, and the reason for that is that we have the institutions that were created in the New Deal and the Great Society, institutions of the welfare state [and] social security... We need to set a strategic direction, as we did in the 1930s and 40s, when the strategic direction over 50 years was basically to create a middle class... When you’re focused on achieving a certain goal, you can eliminate poverty. You can deal with the environmental questions. You can, in fact, do this if you can sustain a course of policy for a 30 or 40 year period... The problem here is organizational. It’s a matter of will. It’s a matter of creating appropriate institutions that are in the public sector and incentives in the private sector to get certain jobs done.”

Brookhiser said, however, that the conservative movement became increasingly influential in the 1960s as more and more Americans became skeptical of the federal government’s ability to tackle complex problems:

“[During the 1960s] a post-Depression, post-war liberal consensus was finally beginning to come apart. World War II had been won, obviously, by an exertion of the government, and the Depression seemed to have been ended by the exertions of the government. There was a consensus that this was the way that we should address all our future problems, and that we could do it successfully by bringing the best thoughts and then the powers of the state to bear upon them. But, in the late 60s, for a lot of reasons – the war in Vietnam, racial troubles that the civil rights bills didn’t seem to be able to address – people all across the spectrum began having doubts, and many of them were on the right. That was really the moment the conservative criticisms of this consensus began to get traction.”

Recent polling indicates that an increasing majority of Americans believe that the government is doing too much. According to Gallup, 57% of respondents agreed with the statement “the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses,” the most in over a decade, while 51% said that “the federal government today has too much power.”

What do you think?

  • How much is the federal government capable of doing competently? Explain.

  • Do you agree with poll respondents that the federal government is trying to do too much, and that it has too much power? Why or why not?

  • What is the appropriate role for government to serve, and what should be reserved for individuals and businesses?


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    Comments

    1) Very little, the more it does the more beauracracies it creates! With that in mind let us remind ourselves the limit on government imposed by our consitution; our founding fathers created a system of checks and balances so that government could not get to big. Less is more, leave to the states what belongs to the states!

    2) I belive our federal government has gotten "waaay" to big for its britches and the current economic situation is prime example of the consequences of the "busted britches!"

    3)The appropriate role of government is clearly outlined in the constitution and the 10th amendmennt states clearly all else is left to the people and their state governments! Businesses come and go, that is the way the economic "river" flows.... so let it flow where it may; if it is to fast get out and return when you can swim the currents. Government has NO ROLE in business other than to allow it to flow as it may with out hinderence!

    As an example of abandonment of the poor you need look no farther than what has happened to Acorn. This an organization that seeks to empower the poor. It has become the poster-child for corrupt liberalism. I worked for Acorn in the early '80's and know what they're about to some degree. Their mission is sincerely pursued by people who truly want to help the poor. This type of job draws a varied group of workers and some of them are your rebel-with-a-cause crusaders with a somewhat casual regard for rules. They are not bad people, quite the opposite, they just have a rather cavalier attitude toward authority. This can cause problems and Acorn knows it. They deal with it as best they can, they were, after all, the one's who alerted authorities about voter registration irregularities in 2008. They are not a perfect entity, but to be singled out for funding cuts is grossly unfair. And may be unconstitutional (see Article 1, Bill of Attainder).

    In the last 15 years Acorn has received about 53 million dollars in funding. With this they're going to threaten our democracy? Blackwater is accused of fraud to the tune of 55 million in one contract alone. Five of their employees have been accused of murder and their funding has not been cut! DynCorp, a defence contracter, has 13 employees under investigation for running a child sex-slave ring in the Balkins and their funding? Don't be silly, they're still rakin' in tax dollars. The reason Acorn has been targeted is because they do empower the poor and that scares the powers that be. They like the poor powerless, where they can get turkeys at Thanksgiving and hams at Christmas, but not real, strategic help. Corporate charity is tactical with calculated disregard for the long term. Acorn is foward looking, which makes them dangerous to the status quo.

    I am not, nor have I even been a Liberal. There are other animals on this political planet besides the Dem-Pub Siamese twin monster. I've been where the wild things are. Some fascists are so afraid of sharks that they run away from the beach like chickens until they get bitten on the nose by a weasel. I mean no harm, but the debate here has become overly predictable (repeated talking points overheard elsewhere) and so some colorful language slinging is in order. This ain't Twitter; and it ain't Diane Rehm, thanks to Moyers.

    Eric Gatchell: Libs have no need to make a mess of the world, the conservatives a la Bush already did it by getting us into this BS and allowing the economy to tank.

    Moyers was so right to indicate the incredible harm there would be to go any further with this. It is a no-win situ because most Americans are too ill-infomed to understand how things work anywhere but in the USA. Johnson should have thrown the whole mess into the Euro community to solve. As he stated in the calls, many countries had this treaty with Nam and no one was honoring it. That war solved NOTHING. And this one will solve nothing. Pick a quiet moment, state we have done the best we can, and bring the troops home. If and when it gets worse and they cannot work it out, meet the needs ALONGSIDE other countries actions.

    How sad to see so many still are so misguided to think there is such a thing as honor in war.

    Loved the show on Johnston and Vietnam, until the final comments by Bill Moyers. Support our troops, or bring them home. PERIOD. You libs are gonna really make a mess of the world.
    D.C. Eddy... go back and pepper your salt...

    Jscottu is typical of self-styled conservatives. He/she makes statements that seem truthful but are usually unsupported by data. First, what studies support your assertion? Can you provide a citation? Were they published in respectable, peer reviewed, academic journals or did Glen Beck say it in a rare moment of lucidity? Second, what amount of money do you "willingly donate" each year? If you are, in fact, at or near the poverty guideline, then you make $10,830 per year if you are single. Let's assume you donate 10% of your annual income - $1,083. Goldman Sachs is considering donating less than half that this year, and that's only because they have been shamed repeatedly by the press. What do you think $1,083 buys? According to the Presidential Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, there are 61,303 non-fatal casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Where do you think money to care for these soldiers will come from? Goldman? You? Good luck.

    As usual, the left can't debate without calling people names. I willingly donate to private charity even though my income is just above poverty level. Several studies have shown that conservatives donate a higher percentage of their income to charity than do liberals. As for blaming corporations...who do you think set up corporate law? It was the government. And, while I am not an expert on religion, I can read. It is clear that Jesus was NOT a communist.

    "The corporations is too big; spends too much; and is way too intrusive in our lives. Corporations is not the solution;Corporations is the problem. Mr. Obama, Tear down them corporations!"

    Can you imagine if 13 longhaired bearded unemployed young Arabic-looking guys wearing robes and sandals came down jscottu's street begging and preaching. A faith-based initiative in deed.

    As you do for the least of them; you do also for Me. Jesus was a communist before communism had a name. Corporations were about 1500 years off. Corporatism (power-wealth-sadism success ethic)is jscottu's Deity. jscottu, realize now that the concept private, and privacy, have been abolished. Just one big rice bowl for the oligarchy, and a hog trough for the rest. Where you eatin' tonight, Buddy?

    Private charity is what Jesus taught.

    Posted by: jscottu

    So what do you call an economy, like we have now, where every act of daily labor involved in BASIC life maintenance is entered in the accounting books as "debt" if some "private" business pays a person a schekle for that "labor"...?!

    If you're going to trot out Jesus as your "power", trot him out in political and economic CONTEXT, at least, woulja?

    The government is too big, spends too much and is way too intrusive in our lives. The libertarian philosophy held by most of the founders is our legacy philosophy. Those who claim that "libertarians are selfish" don't know what they are talking about. Stealing money and then giving part of it to "someone who needs it" is not generosity...it is theft. Private charity is what Jesus taught.

    Klark Mouvinon,
    Personally, I think the present definition of conservative is self-centered sociopaths.
    I have no problem with the conservative concept of using our resources wisely.
    Buckley's concept of conservatism is consistent with the "NO!" policy of the Republicans. No solving problems, no interference with greed and corruption, no expansion of the economy to meet current needs. They support everything for the rich and nothing for the poor, poverty level wages and sky high prices, no regulations that protect the consumers and fill the jails with dissenters.
    Conservatives support end times death and destruction.
    Is that what you want?

    Jann Sabin, "And the idea that a government should be in the protection of its citizens business was, I admitted, an idealistic one."

    Not our PERSONAL "business", Jann. That's NOT "idealistic", that's Nannyism.

    The IDEALISTIC version you might be thinking about is this one:

    "The ONLY ROLE of the government is to protect the individual against force and fraud."

    But since the "laws" PROTECT acts of force and fraud, I agree with you Jann. Any government that obeys its own made up laws to protect force and fraud is definitely NOT "idealistic"...

    Kiark: You've very much misunderstood my post. I said "IF" the government were a corporation. And the idea that a government should be in the protection of its citizens business was, I admitted, an idealistic one. Actually, I agree with your thinking that we're facing a corporate run government where a "cascade of collapse" might be the only solution.

    The US government is a criminal organization.

    Our government is not incompetent. It does its job perfectly.

    It protects the power and wealth of the elite, at the expense of everyone else, just like every other government.

    Drew Knox: I recalled that scene from Seinfeld in which Mr. Pitt, mustached by Elaine with spilled ink and wearing his riding clothes (jodhpurs and boots), presides over the merger of two bottled water companies. Raising his hand like a Nazi he proclaims,"In the Spring, our stock shall rise high!"
    Bush was about as ignorant as Mr. Pitt in realizing his reenactment of totalitarian fascism. (Cheney and Rumsfeld knew, as did Poppy Bush.) His stock shall rise high when ever fascist rule- preserve us! "Our" stock is rising high in another giant bubble right now. This (Bush appraisal) shows how poorly Brookhiser understands Buckley's useful brand of philosophical conservatism. Buckley could recognize both the clever and the stupid, and bestow respect accordingly.

    Jann Sabin: Remember the line from "Ciderhouse Rules";"What business is you in, Jim?"? Jim was in the troublemaking business as opposed to making cider.

    It used to be people were so ignorant that politicians could promise to "run the government like a business." That was before we learned that American capitalism is synonymous with corruption, fraud, nepotism, fratialism and profiteering. The object of business is ostensibly profit, but that is never enough. A person corrupted by business success needs to be excluded from any trust position in government. Instead we have the revolving door.

    Jann, it is doubly unfortunate that you compare our government, conceived as a sacred trust, to a corporation. I guess you've watched too many episodes of "The Office." All citizens have a legal share in our system through both representation and implied responsibility. All voices should be heard but only a few are, and these are not voices in behalf of good principle, but like dogs crying for a treat, and threatening to bite. What we have achieved is fascism (Business dominance of government in behalf of a mafia-like oligarchy) and it will be hard to overcome. A cascade collapse may be required.

    Can we trust you to make our cider Jann Sabin? What "business" is you in, Jann?

    If the United States were a corporation, the first thing it would have to do was define what business it is in: what its mission is.I suggest that the United States, and any country for that matter, is in the protection business and its mission is to keep its citizens safe. And not just safe from terrorists: we must be safe from pollution, poisons, discrimination, violence of any kind. We must be safe on the roads and at work. Children must be safe at home, at school and on the streets. Of course, this is ultimately unachievable. But that shouldn’t keep us from trying.

    The Brookhiser comment I found so disturbing, unless it was cynical, which wasn't in the context, was Bush's historical stock would rise as time goes by.

    Bill didn't ask if Brookhiser condoned torture, rendition, and endless war but that seems to have become the conservative doctrine and, I hope, remains Bush's legacy.

    What a treat to listen to the son of Kenneth Galbraith, ome of the truly great architects of the New Deal. Would that we had another FDR to take on those who, given so many advantages, squander them in making the poor less secure and bankrupting those who followed the rules with soaring medical bills and depleted 401Ks.

    Sara Lesher asks, "If our political and moral philosophy is that social Darwinism is better than the support systems of European social democracies, might it not be less cruel to really offer a voluntary euthanasia program?"

    When the MATURE adult males in elephant groups were hunted off, the whole elephant group went beserk, especially the young males - random wanton violence without purpose. Interesting documentary, another fine PBS special.

    If 10 thousand years of human culture, wisdom and progress is being safeguarded and transmitted through "twits" conversation on cell phones, then we can "sacrifice" even more for the "safety" of the young'uns in USA than just our homes, jobs, savings and do the suicide thingy.

    Both Galbraith and Brookhiser were interesting. And both made cogent arguments. However, the essential question still remains; can the existing government, charged with governing us and running the economy actually accomplish those goals? Short answer. Probably not. I really thought when Barack Obama took office that the era of paralysis was over. That we finally had actually elected someone who would break up the paralysis and actually address the most imminent crises of out time. I for one cannot believe the backlash, just on health care alone. Never mind climate change and alternative energy. The Great Recession has forced most (not everyone) to focus inward; my job, my prospects, my 401k, etc. Instead of focusing on the common good. That happens in "bad times". And the bulk of the populace (if we look at last Tuesday) is real, real angry. At what? Apparently, not President Obama. Not yet, anyway. At the bail out? Yup. At rich guys "buying" elections? Maybe. But I think the real issue is this; those that were elected in 2006 and 2008 do not seem to have a sense of what really is "ginning" their constituents. What they're really talking about at the kitchen table. Unemployment at 10.2 percent? Guess what? It's the economy, stupid!

    Sarah Lesher: I am not your enemy and neither are you mine, and we certainly are not our own worst enemies.

    I take it you don't mind working and are eager to pull your weight and tow the oar for those who can't.

    Note: Please Correspondents, help me enumerate and explain all the means of voting. (Movement, employment choice, spending, joining, subscribing, performing .... and so on; and so)

    Don't worry about a revolution that will be so slow no one can see it move, like the hour hand. Obama is slower than maple syrup on a Vermont morning in February, but I think I saw him move about like Hoover, did pretty much the same things except Smoot-Hawley.

    Even moderate-backward-obedient thinkers like Jamie Galbraith and Robert Reich believe this country is overdue for means tested make-work jobs at modest wages. There is so much to be done, so labor need not be wasted. I can see you teaching older people media skills, Sarah, for an untaxed $10 an hour. Even with my "one foot in the grave" I could teach welding or something, maybe fix some pipes.

    Obama is letting our workforce wallow in the bed when it needs a rehabilitation program. Like health care reform and delivery it would pay for itself in the long run, but at exploiters expense. (Military recruiting and payday loaning would get harder.)

    Are we gonna let parasites spoil all the pleasures of an aspiring democracy? To resist; Use all means of voting!

    I take strong issue with Dr. James Galbraith’s argument that it is crucial that older people retire so that jobs are available for the young.

    Dr. Galbraith, and presumably Mr. Moyers --who didn’t challenge him on this --have excellent retirement income from pension plans that haven’t failed, investments that weren’t wiped out, and the good fortune to have had mentors that helped them realize their potential and build brilliant careers.

    Many of us now past traditional retirement age desperately need jobs because our careers never realized our potential, we never worked long enough in one place to become vested in pensions – or they weren’t offered, our pension plans have gone south, our retirement investments likewise.

    But we can’t get jobs – because of age discrimination, and because our Twitter and Facebook skills can’t match those of 20-somethings. The luckier among us keep working at jobs we hate, because even before the current economic crisis workers over 40 were consistantly passed over in favor of younger ones.

    “Retraining” is a myth: in one of Mr. Moyer’s previous productions a man in his 40’s struggled to learn computer skills that were obsolete before he could try to enter the job market.

    Mr. Moyers, please do a program on what is to be done for the millions of us – many with advanced degrees – who do not have the money for comfortable retirements and must work but cannot find jobs – and the entrepreneurs who have failed in this economy?

    Is Alan Greenspan’s version of Ayn Rand really a viable long-term public policy?

    Are we to become like Russian pensioners after the Soviet Union collapsed, begging in the streets while ruthless manipulators prospered?

    If our political and moral philosophy is that social Darwinism is better than the support systems of European social democracies, might it not be less cruel to really offer a voluntary euthanasia program?

    What are the real economic costs to a nation where worship of the “free market” and “lower taxes, less government” has lead to enormous wealth and opportunity and generational disparities? Where the ‘60’s rallying cry of “don’t trust anyone over 30!” has come back to haunt those of us who invested years learning skills that are now obsolete.

    Can a nation regain prosperity with so many of us trapped near poverty, but those with money and power and influence able to divide and manipulate and prevent change?

    Are the positive feedback systems for preserving and expanding the power of those in power such that, like global climate change, we are already near or past a tipping point?

    Because even revolution requires grassroots organization of the masses, and we are too deeply divided and easily manipulated by those who hold control to come together and act.

    Obama was elected by a mass movement on a platform of “Yes We Can!” But he has already capitulated in so many ways to the special interests he promised to stand up against, from those who would take away what few privacy protections remained after 9/11, to banks and insurance and energy companies with the power and influence to protect their privileged positions, no matter what might be better public policy.

    Perhaps the Tea Party protestors have a point – the nation is under a tyranny. But not by a distant colonial monarch George III. This one we have brought on ourselves with ever more divisive media, expert gerrymandering, and Buckley v. Valeo – possibly the Supreme Court’s most disastrous ruling --allowing Bloomburg to blatantly buy New York City.

    It seems ever less plausible, much less self-evident, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    But we are unlikely to mount a successful revolt against our oppressors.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Jes'o Pete Peter,
    Did you get a bee in your bonnet?
    "Thinking outside the box" is a recent concept based on "the cat in the box".
    People tend to believe anything they are told without considering the fact that there are a lot more possibilities. It is also possible that there was no cat in the box in the first place so it could not be dead or alive.
    As far as the yuppie thing goes they are just hippies that lost faith in the system when they could not stop the insane Vietnam War. The "Baby Boomers" are self-indulgent because they had to live with the fear of getting nuked at any time. For every effect there is a cause.
    Fear is a factor in all of human decisions and actions.
    I am glad to hear that you are not self-indulgent. Right now the big problem is a corrupt government and a failing economy. We need the best solution to the problems and people do need to get a grip on the situation and do what is necessary to fix the economy to everyone's benefit. Living under a bridge and eating other people's garbage is a disgrace. This is especially true when we have CEO"S making billions of dollars a year and eating high on the hog.

    What the h*ll is "thinking outside the box" supposed to mean, anyway, besides some yuppy allusion to unwrapping a new PC? Has everyone gone self-indulgent/baby boomer in the US but me? Jesus freaking Chr*st, grip yourselves, mon.

    Will the real leader please stand up.

    There are ten million Americans waiting for someone to give us a date to march on Washington.

    We need publicly funded campaigns. no more Pay to Play. Insist that your congressman support HR1826 and Senate bill S752.

    I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

    Will the real leader please stand up!!!

    How much can government do? Colombian cocaine or Afghan heroin?

    Moyers recruited the wrong Galbraith. Get Peter not Jamie. Jamie said nothing new.

    Keep it up with the space alien-looking conservatives (Brookheiser) and you'll mobilize public sentiment against them yet, Moyers.

    To whom it may concern...
    Trickle down economics is a total disaster and began the downfall of our economy.
    Trickle down is an insult to the working people of our nation.
    I would have thought that working people would have been up in arms over that concept; especially when it became a reality. Reality is often based on self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Economics has to start with demand side economics because it is the demand side of economics that provides the funds to support the government, the national infrastructure, the banks, the stock market and the needs and desires of all of the people.
    Demand side economics also pays the cost of producing goods and services. Judicious seeding of funds to support necessary spending is an essential government function.
    "Trickle down" economics undermines the stability of the economy and creates a wage slave state.
    What goes around comes around. That is the way of the world as it spins it's orbit.

    Today it promotes socialism for the wealthy and free-market, dog-eat-dog capitalism for the middle class and the poor. If we stay on this track, it won't end nicely.

    Posted by: C. Stephens


    CIT went bankrupt - 2.8 billion in taxpayer $$$ did not even get to trickle down to working poor business people capitalists...

    Back to living by our wits, eh? Get grandma's mattress...

    There is no one QUALIFIED to take oover a "private" power generating plant even though the 55 year old working alone for half of his 12 hour shift wants to "retire"....not even being able to get enough vaccines out the door is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the next generation is COMPETANT enough to make happen...but it is a great idea to just leave and let them use their ideas of "process" to rule the world...management my mouth doesn't really work :-)

    Galbraith's idea of offering early retirement benefits at age 55 to allow younger workers better access to the labor market seems interesting and practical (not mandatory). Why not make it contingent on signing up for 2+ years of public service, getting the benefit of older workers' advanced training and experience. I haven't heard this idea being advanced before.

    In the interview, Mr Galbraith makes the comment that you can't legalize fraud...

    What the heck is he talking about!

    Of course you can legalize fraud!

    Fractional reserve lending is inherently fraud!

    How can you loan out more money than what you actually have sitting back in the vault and NOT construe that as anything OTHER than Fraud?

    But no, tackling the sacred cow of fractional reserve lending is not allowed. And you can be sure that, whatever "reform" our political elites give us, it will NEVER include eliminating this fraudulent practice. The bankers just make too much money from it.

    Interestingly, in your recent interview with James Galbraith for he seems to begin his take on American history with FDR and goes on to bemoan 30years of raw capitalism without the “capital P” Public purpose that he idealized in FDR. Let me just site a few examples of states with the highest sense of public purpose Sparta, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Marx’s USSR, Togo Japan’s, Cambodia’s Pathet Lao.
    Our nation in contrast was founded with an intentionally constrained public purpose – where power, specifically economic power, was retained by individuals. This highly distributed system allows persons to maximize their use of their gifts. This alignment of self-actuation with the goals of the society is the most fundamental element that maintains our Democracy. Only sheep can be herded by empty slogans: “From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs”. The Problem is that there are always more needs than abilities. The problem with Government deciding how to incentivize citizens to create the mix of needed abilities is that governments need more, more money, more power, more control, and over time government tends or favor only the self interest of government. This is the very danger that our constitution was constructed to avoid. Yet, how few American seem to understand it. This structure may be too abstract. From a strictly functional / operational standpoint is it effective? Is it efficient? In all seriousness how can anyone look at a government that has created 500k in debt for every American man woman and child and expect them to change their ways tomorrow. Hope? Must we always give more and hope for a change form these manifestly incompetent members of the legal profession?
    Mr. Galbraith while mesmerizing in his use of a poetic panorama for the 30 once again bedazzles only with hopeful slogans. He creates a setting for his view of public purpose, presents little logic and less data. What I can’t understand is how Bill Moyers could facilitate such a sham. Jeff

    What I believe is missing in this discussion is the recognition that none of the experts [and by deduction, none of the schools of economics - NONE] have a sound economic theory. If anything has come out of this downturn has been the fundamental question, what is capitalism? If something like the periodic economic breakdowns were occurring in say physics, the entire community of physicists would be responding quite differently than our economic "experts." Ultimately it is theory that matters. Get that right and we have a fighting chance; get it wrong and it is only an accident that we do the right thing. And, in my opinion, such has been the case in my life time.

    I have struggled for years to get the economic thought of Bernard Lonergan into the public dialogue. Lonergan is one of the most celebrated philosophers and theologians of the 20th century, but few know that he wrote an economic essay in which he claims to have achieved a much needed economic "Copernican Revolution." Other than within the Catholic philosophical circles, there is little or no attention to a work that could guide us out of these assumed unavoidable periodic cycles of economic booms and busts. Again, in my opinion, the present theories are wrong, producing booms and busts, which then are used as evidence to conclude that theories are right. But the booms and busts are really evidence that the theories are just wrong, mistaken, incomplete.

    His work cries out to be heard. What I think Bill Moyer and the Journal should do is bring this work to light. The read is not easy but the reward is great.

    You'll get there too someday Anna. You might want to think about that at least a little.

    Posted by: jan


    I don't respond to psychological and emotional manipulation, Jan. Especially when it is self-serving to the one attempting it....

    Among some of the legends from Native North American tribes is this "social" awareness - supposedly, when the old in the tribe discerned that they were about to become a burden, they CHOSE not to join the seasonal treks of the tribe.

    How do you know what I have been thinking about with regards to "death"? Grandpa is 98 years old, meanwhile I have lost a 12 year old godchild to neuroblastome, a childhood friend was murdered by one of the "johns" that kept her heroin addiction going, a radiologist cousin, a significant other, 3 of my lifelong amateur astronmy buddies, new "poker" friend in chemo - and guess what, Nanny-lecturing Jan? - this massive list is for everybody under 55 years old.

    Like I mentioned before, the math for how many "baby boomers" are going to be ripping at the 10% of "wealth" needs to be seasonally adjusted.

    Here's the retarded genius ideology in a nut shell and guess again if you think brain lock from "death" can make people lose focus...Rick Sullivan didn't get brain lock, either:

    "By design, only the principle amount of money is ever created in the supply and so it is numerically impossible to pay our debts. It ensures not only impossible growth requirements, but bubbles of debt that grow to consume us all. It is the original fraud perpetrated on us. Please, please address this issue Bill."

    Go nanny-lecture the Fed, Jan. I ain't ripping at a 10% carcass. I can constantly recreate CIVILIZATION, not consume it.

    Great discussion! Thank you, Bill, for being one of the lone voices out there to address issues with courage and candor. The only part of this discussion (meaning the national discussion) is that I don't see any talk about monetary policy, other than what the Fed's lending rates are. We have a real problem with currency due in no small part to the practice of fractional reserve lending. We are creating currency out of thing air and then charging interest on it. By design, only the principle amount of money is ever created in the supply and so it is numerically impossible to pay our debts. It ensures not only impossible growth requirements, but bubbles of debt that grow to consume us all. It is the original fraud perpetrated on us. Please, please address this issue Bill. Until we have sane monetary creation and policy that is not controlled by private interests, we will never have effective fiscal policy. There will be more debt deposited on the people, requiring ever-increasing government borrowing, social spending, and trade deficits.

    End the Fed and end private, profiteering control of our currency.

    For more info see www.webofdebt.com

    Great discussion on Friday night. Many people seem to have great difficulty separating "our country" from the people who run it. And they consistently want to view our country's problems from a perspective of which political party is responsible for them. In a country where the decision-making levels have been captured by a tiny handful of the very wealthy, political parties aren't the issue. It's essentially a class war, and ours lost, for the time being.
    It was especially interesting to see the interview with Jamie Galbraith close with the FDR quote. If you look at the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among the 30 articles you'll find almost all of those aspirations. The U.S. is a signatory to that document, and yet is alone among the developed nations in being in violation of most the 30 articles. Particularly pertinent these days are articles 22 through 26.
    Government's role, from the beginnings of organized human society, is to have the long-term view and to promote the common good. Today it promotes socialism for the wealthy and free-market, dog-eat-dog capitalism for the middle class and the poor. If we stay on this track, it won't end nicely.

    "We have to think beyond what we think are limitations to outside the box where the best solutions to our problems exist."

    I agree.

    I think outside the box where only the governors are governed, and the rest of us are truly equal and free.

    =
    MJA

    i don't doubt that galbraith has good intentions, but he drew a real fantasy-land picture of the world. According to him, the whole reason for the economic crisis was evil-doers in corporations and the republican party conspiring to defraud the wonderful honest common people. This is populist nonsense. Yes, republicans and predatory lenders did many evil things, but it was democrats eager to give homes to everyone for "social justice" that justified getting rid of lending standards and many democrats pushed the same deregulation and take just as much money from wall street.

    democrats now reprsent every single one of the richest districts in the country. A lot of people dumped common sense and lived way behind their means for years, and are also responsible for the crisis, but democrats want to pretend that the world is black and white and that giving more power to a lot of the people that brought on this crisis will somehow magically solve everything. They want to give tax money to people who made bad decisions as if that won't encourage more stupid behavior in the future.

    the sad thing is that government probably could be used in smart ways to help solve problems, but as long as unrealistic people like galbraith are at the helm trying to blame complex problems on easy scapegoats the government will just make things worse, just like it has for the last 20 years. What a lightweight.

    With freedom comes responsibility...
    Government has the responsibility to protect its people, provide a quality environment, a quality society and quality lifestyles.
    The only way to accomplish these tasks is to have sufficient funds to support a progressive economic system that maintains an efficient exchange of goods and services. Insufficient funds cause an anemic society and excessive funds cause's inflation and waste.
    Even the Epicureans with their "eat, drink and be merry" stipulated that first you have to do what is necessary to support a quality life.
    We have to think beyond what we think are limitations to outside the box where the best solutions to our problems exist.
    While it is necessary to use our resources wisely; it is also necessary to provide the resouces to do what is necessary to support a quality society. Conservatism can be the miserliness that destroys our nation.
    Terrorists are saints in comparison to greedy conservatives.



    I don't identify as either a "liberal" or "conservative," but did find James Galbraith to be a breath of fresh air. I didn't see this show as a point-counterpoint, so much as a recommendation for some solutions to our economic woes followed by some platitudes.

    In the case of Richard Brookhiser, he didn't go beyond "Ugh! Government bad!" Similar to the hosannas conjured up after the Reagan debacle, he predicted that George W. Bush would eventually be seen as a great president. This shows the complete bankruptcy of "conservatism." George W. Bush, omnicriminal, is what passes for greatness. One need only ask, what is the greatness of George W. Bush? Was it his desertion of, not the active duty military, but the National Guard? Was it the 2000 "election?" Was it the 2004 "election?" Was it his negligence before the attacks of September 11, 2001? Was it his lying the country into attacking "Iraq?" Was it "Mission Accomplished?" Was it Hurricane Katrina? Was it the near-collapse of our economy? Was it the revelation of the identity of an intelligence officer? Was it torture? Was it Guantanamo? Was it the "patriot" act? Was it spying on citizens?

    There is a certain perfection in this futile assertion. George W. Bush as the latest excuse for greatness points out the complete emptiness of "conservatism." It is a philsophy and movement without substance. The only thing it stands to conserve is the wealth, power, and privilege of the already wealthy, powerful, and privileged. There is no solution proposed for the problem of climate change, no solution for the economy, no solution for our health care crisis, and no solution for "terrorism." It isn't "government" that "conservatives" oppose, but problem solving. In this light, what they are "conserving" is impotence.

    I think we need to contrast rule by government of the people vs rule government of large corporations. I'd sooner have the government govern that Exxon or GE...

    Libertarians don't like teamwork, Anna. They want a cutthroat world where it's all about "the individual" or "me, me, me" and what they think is freedom.

    At some point in life we're all going to get sick and old and more or less become what libertarians, and some republicans as well, would consider a burden on society. I've talked to enough local libertarians to know they don't like supporting others once they become a burden on society. You'll get there too someday Anna. You might want to think about that at least a little.

    See - it's a GOOD thing to get back to a "laws of the jungle" oohooh ee ee ah ah conversation because you, Jan, and I are not in agreement about what is "competance" in the jungle and what is "teamwork".

    Corruption renders you incompetant. No way around that FACT.

    Teamwork in the jungle is how we survived long enough to have a conversation about teamwork :-)

    First "teamwork" was a natural evolution - no one presented a psychological theory for it - and it was in regards to beating back the number of PREDATORY animals...

    Agree with you that since I voted "libertarian" in this past cycle simply because of the clarity of the definition of government on their website:

    "The only role of government is to protect the individual against force and fraud"

    it's not your grandma's "libertarians" anymore in charge of the "party"...

    With respect, Anna, Greenspan wasn't incompetent so much as corrupt. Same thing with the massive mismanagement of the Bush administration which got us into the predicament and the Obama administration which is merely perpetuating and occasionally extending the Bush administration policies. It is the deliberate part that I find most upsetting.

    I keep wondering. Does anyone remember the concept of teamwork as a tool to move further forward than would be possible as a single entity?

    Instead with law of the jungle that Michael seems to prefer, you get infighting, lying, backstabbing among people who should be working together toward a goal; total chaos, which by the way is the objective of the libertarian party. Failure is the only result if you choose to go down that road.

    One question on the table is, "How much is the federal government capable of doing competently? Explain.

    The FACTS are that the people in the institutions of "federal government" were only "competant" in commiting force and fraud against its own citizens...review "Frontline" episode about Brooksley Born and Greenspam's ideology about "fraud".

    So the question is irrelevant since the very definition of "government" is the capacity for a civilization to have laws PROTECTING a fully functioning adult human being AGAINST force and fraud.

    It's clear that the self-proclaimed "elite" have no capacity for "law".

    So the jungle already exists. It's just a matter now of redefining the "fittest".

    Just the facts, Ma'am...

    95% of us having to rip off 10% of the pie left after "government" stole everyone's "fruits" will, by necessity, start to reclassify "fittest"...and maybe without the "conceit" of christian "mercy"...

    I'm not worried about where my "cult" will come out...here's some humor for you from my email box this morning, Jan:

    Garfield the cat is telling us:

    "I was so depressed last night thinking about the poor economy, the wars, jobs, savings, social Security, retirement funds, etc. that I called Lifeline. I reached a freekin' call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal. They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck."

    :-))

    Welcoming back some laws of the jungle about "competant" is a good thing.

    Personally, I have no moral obligation to BELIEVE that the rich man's idiot son/daughter NEEDS to rule me and I need to let them rule. All bets are off since the "isms" of the 20th century created a "jungle" far worse than what most lalalanders are intellectually equipped to comprehend.

    What would the wolves do?

    =
    MJA

    Freedom is not for everyone jan, perhaps not fot sheep as well.
    But then, before man became sheperds, sheep must have been free as well. Imagine that, an ungoverned flock of sheep!

    =
    MJA

    One little problem, Michael. What you're advocating is not democracy. It is libertarianism and/or anarchy.

    I have found libertarianism to be a philosophy of selfishness and the law of the jungle on a grand scale that has no conscience, no compassion, no mercy. No thanks.

    I have been a member of your audience for many years and have an enormous respect for your good effort to bring us a collection of people and ideas - providing us with a fuller view of ideas and news - in the comfort of our homes -to help us do some of our own personal critical thinking. I either work my schedule around your Friday night program or spend Saturday morning watching the podcast.

    I had the good fortune to be home this Friday night and was brought to tears with your comments about the war in Afghanistan and the draft. While I would be the last person to wish harm to anyone's child on any side of the conflict, I believe as you do - that the draft would allow us to all share the pain and suffering - and awareness of this too long war. If we are all feeling the pain - maybe the pain could stop sooner and would not meet the time projections of the generals.

    How we can equate the priority of the war - as suggested in the Washington Post - over the care and feeding of the American people - is beyond me. To prefer the American people - in these times - is not isolationism - but rather- taking care of our own - at a critical time. If we do not heed this priority - we will - heaven forbid, have another war to contend with - and this war will be closer to home.

    The everyday American person needs an advocate. We are not looking to be taken care of - we are asking for a chance to take care of ourselves - within rules and times we can understand and maneuver. We need to believe that if we put forth the effort, we can achieve the results. And we must see the results of our efforts - not promises of another handout or stimulus program - but rather jobs creation.

    I believe, if my brother and sister want to work alongside me - I am their keeper and supporter. --and I wish all the policy makers, I once voted for -- would stand by me - and agree with me- and vote their conscience - and not their pocketbook.

    A call for a true Democratic Vote.

    Rather than going to a ballot box and deciding whom we think best to govern or rule us, I would prefer a ballot question that asks: do you wish to be governed by anyone at all?
    True freedom anyone?

    =
    MJA

    Galbraith suggests we extend Medicare to those 55 and older to clear out the jobs for younger workers. While not a bad idea as a safety net, in reality this ageism approach has several problems. First, people are getting married and having children later. That means 55+ Americans have to still send their kids to college. So if they retire, then college becomes more unaffordable and you have LESS younger workers qualified to "take over". Second, the trend in pensions and 401ks is to extend retire ages, forcing older workers to have to work longer to avoid poverty. Finally, the assumption older workers have nothing to offer is ignorant at best. Sometimes watching younger workers repeat mistakes and ignoring experience is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    With due respect to Galbraith, many older workers are not hanging around in jobs they don't like. More likely the employers have already fired them to save costs. Get out of the ivory tower.

    I'm going to disagree vehemently with the thesis that people don't want government intervention. They do want government intervention. They just don't want the half-hearted efforts that Obama and the current democratic party leaders have been generating in an effort to curry favor and money from the corporations. From my perspective, the republican party is somewhere off in either fantasy land or completely lost their minds and are so deeply mired in libertarianism and superficial religionism that they have lost all relevance for most of us.

    I'm sorry. While Mr. Brookhiser may have warm fuzzy feeling of the Reagan administration, mine are much in line with Halloween, the season of terror and horror. That probably has a lot to do with different socio-economic levels that we exist on. I watched my neighbors come very, very close to losing their farm during the Reagan administration. I remember a lot of foreclosures in just my small town. Farms on the auction block. Farmers watching years of work being taken away, unable to do anything to prevent it. My company my dad worked for was bought out by a much larger corporation and in a year turned from a money-making company with lots of business into a tax break for the corporation. I remember the Reagan years and overall they were a disaster.

    Its possible that Mr. Brookhiser may be a fairly nice person if you get past his politics but to be honest, there was only so much of that interview I could watch. I would point out to Mr. Brookhiser that even though we don't have as much money as he does, we ARE still people and we DO live in this country and we have more value than cannon fodder or something to be thrown away like a broken piece of machinery when we get sick or old.

    Mr. Galbraith is wrong on the debt and wrong on the power of the US to overcome the debt.

    Were the deficits offset in good years, that would be one thing. But the pattern since Ronald Reagan is quite the opposite. Plot this picture Mr. Galbraith and tell us it is sustainable.

    Between 1776 and 1981 the total nationl debt never exceeded $1 trillion. When Reagan left office it was $2.7 trillion. GHWB left us $4.0 trillion in debt. Clinton (who, yes, did balance the last two of his eight budgets, though some question the accounting) left us $5.7 trillion in debt and the conservative GW Bush has left us $10 trillion in debt with two unfinished wars. That gives Obama license and in the next four years he will continue the acceleration of debt and the nation's debt will approach $15 trillion.

    Plot that picture. It is unsustainable. The question is how does it abate? Does it break sharply or does it level of and start to trend down? So then what administration shall ever attempt to reverse it? To even level it for eight years?

    The answer is none shall ever attempt because that would put this nation and the world in a depression beyond anything comprehensible.

    The easiest way out is inflation, and indeed in the same 28 years period we've seen a 10 fold devaluation of the dollar in everything from housing to cars, to subway rides to pizza slices.

    The economic power of a nation lies in the power of its successive generations to out produce the preceding generations and out compete the current economies of the world. US students rank behind the top 20 nations in math and science and continue to lose ground. Outsourcing is a reality that is not about to reverse. This is not a model of competitive productivity that will overcome the debt picture.

    Mr. Galbraith's condescension on these subjects is not offensive. He is entitled to his opinion. But he reveals a deep naivety as to current American economic reality and what the future holds. However, it is shameful that someone of his credentials so maligns the fundamental picture; though he is not alone and indeed the economic discussion today is quite poor. It is beyond poor, it is dishonest and counterproductive.

    The USA had better get on with shifting out of the production of aircraft carries and submarines; and into the business of sustainable energy and environment or the collapse of the world economy will be moot.

    The other thing this nation needs to do is get the message to the kids that excellence in math and science is their only answer.

    Sadly, neither is on the horizon and instead the fashion today is anti-repsonsibility and a suggestion that everyone has a right to finite resources that are dwindling rapidly on every front.

    One third of the nation is obese, a second third is overweight but they have a right to subsidized health care as we accelerate the debt.

    No Mr. Galbraith, you don't know what you are talking about.

    Just a comment in response to: "And I will predict he will be like Ulysses Grant who's finally being recognized as actually a pretty good president.." I cannot imagine how anyone could come up with such an analysis, given all he did and left undone. We are eight years behind where we might have been in trying to save our planet, slow our population growth, protect our wild places (except the marine national monuments in the Pacific), give life back to the dead Iraqis, and one could go on and on. In what way could that be considered a "pretty good president"?

    This idea of "THE" government having anything is faulty from the start. There is no giant entity, "THE government". The use of the word "the" assumes this falacy. Government is a word we use to represent an economic and cultural, autonomous collective of humans. When it's government of the people then the word government is synonymous with "THE people"

    In this context the government as the collective of citizens is impotent at best.

    It's POLICY MAKERS that have too much responsibility and too much deciding influence. When I say POLICY MAKERS I mean, legislators and those who successfully lobby them.

    The government as, "WE the People" has been mute and impotent for far too long.

    In watching the clip that emerged recently from Roosevelts "New Bill of Rights" speech, I was deeply moved.

    I am a US citizen and I AM doing something that you can do too... so easily.
    My husband and I quietly launched a new economic revolution July 4th, 2009. It's described in a series of 6 political shorts posted on youtube. These videos describe a new global economic paradigm that echoes the meat of the New Bill of Rights. To fuel this revolution will bring back the roots of our revolutionary history and the unique quality we demonstrate as a nation of people who are NOT AFRAID to plunge into the frontier that is our coming collective future.

    Join this revolution today and we will take the lead on this earth in our true calling. Not one of financial prowess, whatever that menas... but our role as champions and forgers of freedom, peace, equality and love.
    Watch the whole series and see if these new priorities match your own gut feelings. If so, make your own sign and put it up and you've joined this peaceful revolution.
    The series is also premiering at this years "Get Reel Moab Film Festival" in UT. The word is spreading!! Check it out and jump on board a truly UNITED STAtES revolution at the root level.
    peace to you my friends
    kelly Florez

    "Max Trinitys Trickle Up Global Economics"

    Part 2 "The 250BOYCOTT"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYbbu-9oYZk

    Part 3 "Democracy Tax"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbq4yEKwUbE

    Bill, I was laid off from my job eight months ago because of this recession. I can't find another job.

    My first stage of unemployment runs out within two weeks and I am poised to lose my health care coverage in January if I can't find work. It's a real possibility.

    For me, this is more than a recession, and it began more than a year ago. Two years ago, I temporarily moved in with my parents who are retired. Then the economy crashed and I lost my job. I've been with them ever since. I feel rotten about it, but what else can I do? I can't find work and I can't afford to move out without killing what savings I had.

    I've thought about going to college for a third degree, but Galbraith aptly expressed my reservations about returning to college: Even if I can find student loans to pay for schooling, even if I can be one the lucky few to enroll at a time when enrollement is getting cut, and even if I could find a new major, there may be no jobs out in the real world when I am done. So, I would be right back where I am now -- except I would have amassed a huge debt I have no way of paying back.

    I worry about the future, Bill. I'm 40 and I have almost no retirement savings. Without a job, I am losing precious time that I could be using to save money for retirement.

    I am not convinced that the recovery is actually a recovery. It feels more like we are walking on a paper-thin floor with no support structure underneath. Are we going to fall through the floor time and time again until we can't pull ourselves out? I wonder.

    I'm not sure that Obama can do much, but he is trying. Still, he has Wall Street people in his administration who have a vested interest in protecting the big guys and corporations instead of helping out little guys like me. And I don't see the republicans doing anything useful to help fix our economy.

    So where does that leave me and where does that leave us as a nation? It leaves me and others like me scared for ourselves and for our country.

    Brookhiser doesn't look like he will die in a year, after all the war that he claims started with 911 started circa 1980, sadly with Jimmy Carter supporting an insurgency in Afghanistan, and most definitely with Charlie Wilson making sure the US funding endorsed the terrorism strategy to defeat a superpower. If you want to limit it to al qaeda, then the Russian defeat marks the beginning, as well as Reagan withdrawal from Lebanon after the Marines were killed, and the Bush-Saudi pact on the first Gulf War.

    But perhaps Brookhiser is merely noting the point when he woke up to the dependency the US has on a modern form of colonial exploitation, more than two decades after the leaders of al qaeda did and issued their warnings.

    No the economic crisis is not over. They keep telling us we have to go back to living within our means. Do they mean back when there were good paying jobs. Back when what money was spent went back into the American economy because the product bought was made by an American company in America that in turn put part of the money back into it's employees pockets who were then able to go out and buy products themselves which is what kept the economy afloat. Have they not been paying attention? The profits now go into the top 1 percents pockets and what is payed in wages go into the pockets of other countries workers which in turn goes into their economies. Did American companies really get so drunk with greed that they didn't realize that by getting rid of their workforce here at home for cheap labor overseas that they were also getting rid of their consumers when they became unemployed and underpayed. Is this what the credit bubble was about? So now that that has popped we are suppose to live within our means? What means? There are very few decent paying jobs, and very few companies left in the country to pump much needed money back into the comsumers pockets. No there will be no recovery as we would like to think of it.
    I see it as we have two outcomes before us. Either we will go into a full scale depression in a short while or maybe this is being done by design. We know our government is not controlled by the citizens anymore, it shows in many decisions they make, they are taking their orders from somebody(s) other than it's citizens.
    (I talk to many people Democrat and Republican alike and the large majority combined feel this way about this.)
    We have lost control of our country. Is it being taken over by a global dictatorship form of government? Other than being the home (for the time being) of the western worlds military arsenal we are nothing more than another state on the global map and like so many other countries will our economy be fueled by a large lending institution that can make the citizens bend to their rules or face poverty and starvation if they refuse. So who are these self proclaimed Gods who will set the standard of living for us? Faces and names who we do not even know who has turned our government into a group of hand puppets who's job is to give the perception that they are representing the people. By looking at many of the countries dependant on these institutions if this is what they consider an acceptable standard of living for the average person then I think we have a hard road ahead of us in the future.
    These are the only two possibilites I can see unless we change what we are doing and fast.

    t

    In the first few minutes of this conversation, I was ready to get the USS Missouri out of mothballs and fire away. In the event, however young Galbraith silently corrected the record and I have only a few complaints, which, since I'm familiar with his position, were not unexpected. Make no mistake about it tho, easy money and budget overruns were the cause of this "Great Recession" just as they were in the Great Depression, and James knows this as well as his father, however they are both Keynesians and believers in fiscal stimulus, and I would as a corrective to this view urge bloggers to read Nobelist Lionel Robbins's classic account The Great Depression written in 1934. It is available online here: http://www.mises.org/books/depression-robbins.pdf As Gracie Allen cracked in 1940: "This used to be a government of checks and balances. Now it's all checks and no balances. But I have a cure for that. I'll sign all checks with invisible ink,..." Secondly, I must point out that FDR's bill of rights is exactly what they did in the Soviet Union, and that did not turn out so well.

    Did I just hear Mr. Brookhiser say, in effect, that he still supports George W. Bush on Bill Moyer's Journal?

    How so, sir? If that is indeed what you said.

    Under w's faulty "leadership", the US led the invasion of a country that was of no threat to us.....Iraq. How many lives & dollars this many years later & we are still there & to what end? Whatever the end there is no justification for this war. No WMD were ever found & even if Iraq did have them, was there a trace of solid verifiable evidence that Iraq planned to attack us with those weapons?!
    Remember those dud Scud missiles from Desert Storm? How ridiculous an idea that Iraq could be a threat to our security, yet w & his crew convinced Congress of it.

    I can still see Colin Powell at the U.N. stating that we know where those weapons are. Yet, the UN weapons inspectors, on the ground in Iraq prior to the invasion, said tell us where, we'll go check it out.
    The war in Iraq marks w as a war criminal in the 1st degree.

    Let's also examine the financial crisis he left us with. That we are still dealing with. It's cause & effect....8 yrs. of bush hands- off no regulation economics & look at the mess we're mired in. (granted laissez faire didn't start with him, but he did nothing to stop it either).
    At the tail end of his miserable reign, he also made the preposterous statement that he guaranteed a fix (paraphrasing) before he left office to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Remember that one? Who could make such a ridiculous comment?
    I'm not going to go into his other screw ups, like backing out of the Kyoto treaty or how Katrina was mis-handled.

    So, please, Mr. Brookhiser, if you did infer your support of w bush, explain on what basis you do so.

    Regards,
    Kevin Estis
    Baltimore, Md.


    Bill Moyers is the epitomy of what journalism should and could be if more people in this profession were as courageous and as gifted as he is. Thank you for allowing this insight, this frankness, this intellect, this openess, this thoughtfullness, this reflection, this respect for others, this humaneness, this universality, this oneness with the world. Afterall, arent we all in this together? Thank you Mr Moyers!

    Thank you Bill Moyers for calling the American viewers to ask themselves and their leaders at what cost and sacrifice we are willing to spend on winning the war in Afghanistan. I personally know of too many young men and women who have joined the armed services because there is no money for education or economic security for themselves or their families.

    Brookhiser asserts that liberals dominated the government after World War II. I am baffled at what point that was the case. The most successful social programs, that propelled our country into prosperity and established a middle class, were brought about by returned veterans who demanded such "liberal" programs as the G.I. Bill, with it's accompanying "liberal" concepts like the right to an education and a home. The government capitulated to these demands from men who were well aware of why they deserved and had earned this help. These returning veterans were also aware, if only vaguely in some instances, of how government and business abandoned the veterans of the prior World War. Had the government not responded it would have had a rebellion on its hands that would have made the bonus army protests look like a picnic.
    I am curious at what point the government was dominated by liberals? The McCarthy era, the Johnson years, with it's brutal war on an impoverished third world country, or the two and a half years of the Kennedy administration, that might have begun to move the country leftward had he not been killed? I lived through those years. I somehow missed the liberal government. Brookhiser's dismissal of the civil rights movement is repulsive and an assertion that should not go unchallenged. The rights earned through struggling against injustice, the suffering and brutality experienced by minorities was what achieved those rights. They were not bestowed by a "liberal" government. That idea is insulting and just plain wrong.

    Absolutely wonderful commentary. Thank you Bill Moyers for taking a stand on sending our soldiers off to war. You presented the issue beautifully and eloquently and most important, persuasively. It is time for all to examine their conscience and reach a decision on how this country will proceed in the future.

    You let brookhiser off the hook; Buckley never apologized for stating that segregationists were right to prohibit Afro-Americans from going to school, to prohibit them from voting, to prohibit them from intermarrige, from using drinking fountains, I could go on and on. In fact, in the 60's he claimed that he was right to have taken tht position.

    Further, if supporting segregation and the refusal to allow Afro-Americans basic civil rights is not racist what is? For instance, he never suggested that uneducated, uncultured southern whites be denied the right to vote; or be denied the right to use drinking fountains.

    Further, read some of Brookhiser's comments RE: the ANC and whether Black Africans should have the right to vote in S. Africa.

    If you assume that Brookhiser and Buckley were not racists, how do you explain their constant and consistent attempt to deny Africans and Afro/Americans the most basic rights?

    You let brookhiser off the hook; Buckley never apologized for stating that segregationists were right to prohibit Afro-Americans from going to school, to prohibit them from voting, to prohibit them from intermarrige, from using drinking fountains, I could go on and on. In fact, in the 60's he claimed that he was right to have taken tht position.

    Further, if supporting segregation and the refusal to allow Afro-Americans basic civil rights is not racist what is? For instance, he never suggested that uneducated, uncultured southern whites be denied the right to vote; or be denied the right to use drinking fountains.

    Further, read some of Brookhiser's comments RE: the ANC and whether Black Africans should have the right to vote in S. Africa.

    If you assume that Brookhiser and Buckley were not racists, how do you explain their constant and consistent attempt to deny Africans and Afro/Americans the most basic rights?

    Government is as its title implies. Government is the official organization that has the authority and responsibility to govern a nation. Economics should be based on what the government needs to run an efficient, people orientated society. There is no magic just sufficient funds to balance supply/demand exchange.
    Government is the only agency that can protect the rights, income and quality of life of its people.
    Government should do what ever it takes to protect its people and provide them the necessary services required for a quality life.
    Incompetent government that does not accomplish these goals should be replaced.

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