11.13.2008

Keep the Baby, Not the Bathwater

I want to repeat here a question I first asked at a conference I
recently attended. I didn't get a satisfactory response there, and I
still haven't, so I'm hoping that someone can help me out. Here's my
question:

"As a Christian and a capitalist, I'm concerned that we are
threatening to throw out the baby with the bathwater in two cases.
First, free trade has lifted hundreds of millions out of crushing
poverty, and additional hundreds of millions solidly into the middle
class. Protectionism hurts poor people and poor nations the most and
leads to volatile food prices. Second, lost in our subprime meltdown,
as we've focused on all the people who defaulted on their loans, is
that many did not default on their loans. And easy access to capital
has led to people building buildings and buying homes and starting
businesses that were heretofore excluded from doing such things.
Clamping down on capital markets could lead to a return of redlining
and other practices that keep the most marginalized among us from
participating in the mainstream economy. So can you convince me that
an Obama presidency and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress won't
throw these two babies out with the bathwater?"

I'm trying to convince myself that Obama has enough Clintonistas on
his team that saw what happened in 1994 when, after 12 years out of
power, the far left reached too far from 1992 to 1994, leading to a
resounding defeat in the congressional elections. I'm also trying to
convince myself that Obama has good economic advisors and is moderate
and pragmatic enough to not let ideology trump reason. I may need a
little help convincing myself of these two possibilities, and having
additional reasons these two babies won't get thrown out with the
bathwater. Anyone?

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