I find it disturbing how extreme opinions and actions have hijacked the political and economic discourse worldwide since the beginning of the 2007 recession. Since that time the world has seen the polemic rise of the Tea Party and then Occupy Wall Street. A presidential candidate has threatened physical harm to the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and there have been violent uprisings worldwide from Cairo to Athens and all the way to Oakland. And of course, everyone hates bankers.
Through all of this I feel more isolated and strangely deceived. Reasonableness has been subsumed by anger. Optimism has been darkened by the shadow of fear. People seem to hate more now than they did prior to the recession.
Maybe its the way media has evolved. With 24-hour cable news and millions of notes published every week somewhere on the web - opinion is pervasive. Expert or not. And every opinion published by a credible expert seems to be commented on by increasingly random angry people. It must be exhausting to be so angry. But anger begets drama and drama attracts viewers, which makes money. And the anger has permeated all facets of politics, resulting in an ugly extremism that I can no longer relate to. As a fiscally conservative person with moderate views, I feel lonely.
So I thought that I may take this opportunity to list 22 things that I believe to be true. Is there anyone out there that aligns with my less-than-extreme views?
1. Capitalism, with all of its warts, is essential to the human condition and the only economic model of hope. There is no alternative approach.
2. Capitalism operates with game dynamics, which means that it needs specific rules and impartial, transparent enforcement of those rules by independent third-parties in order to operate effectively. Rules and referees with whistles.
3. There is no "invisible hand" of capitalism because it should all be measurable and transparent.
4. Public service unions are the antithesis of service and withold value from taxpayers and citizens for their own gain.
5. I am not religious, although I have friends that are religious. I respect that they are religious and they respect that I am not religious. But I don't want their views and morals imposed on me through social legislation.
6. Democracy and capitalism are not mutually inclusive or dependent.
7. Representation without taxation is as morally reprehensible as taxation without representation.
8. Ayn Rand was a fraud.
9. TARP was not about bailing out the banks but about preventing a worldwide financial meltdown.
10. Dogma like anti-tax pledges will destroy the future of America.
11. investing in infrastructure is a no-brainer - Barack Obama is right.
12. Investing in education is a no-brainer - as long as there is accountability - Jeb Bush is right.
13. The world needs collaboration and creativity to solve our endemic financial problems. There are too many purists who refuse to compromise. There are too many intractible positions like "Austrian school", "Chicago school", and "Keynesian". We need to find ways to examine the policies of all economic schools of thought.
14. Until there is real campaign finance reform, the United States policy is doomed to serve the narrow interests of corporations at the expense of most people.
16. Most of the wealthy that make over $1m per year are not "job creators". Typically, they are occupiers of positions in large multinational organizations that are not creating jobs. These organizations are hoarding cash and not necessarily hiring.
17. Those that are hiring are small businesses with great ideas. This is the economic engine of America.
18. America's economic engine is being starved of its fuel - skilled creators. Too many Americans attend university with skill deficiencies and graduate with useless degrees.
19. The Federal Reserve has been essential to preventing a worse financial crisis in the United States.
20. I believe in Modern Monetary Theory
21. I believe in science
22. Regulation does not work well because it has been compromised by special interests to be ineffective. To be effective, regulation needs to be clear, concise, and easy.
23. I think the "war on drugs" is mostly a waste of money that promotes criminality.
24. The US should focus defense spending on cheap things that work like drones and exit places like Germany and Japan.
25. there is too much inequality in the United States, which if left unattended could ruin the greatness of the country.
So based on these items, extremists from either end of the spectrum would likely label my views viciously. I guess I'm more Jon Huntsman with some Barack Obama and a touch of Ron Paul. In Canada, ultimately I am what was once described as a Red Tory - a fiscal, practical conservative that strives for success but is compassionate about the plight of fellow citizens.
Is there anybody out there that thinks this way?
Is there some type of political entity that represents this viewpoint?