Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Federal Reserve and My Flirtation with the Political Left

I just read Ron Paul's End the Fed for the first time. Some of you may know that although I portray myself as an intellectual, I rarely read books. Well, I actually read one this week. Hooray for me!

Reading the book reignited my interest in the Federal Reserve (and really gave me a solid grounding in the subject matter for the first time). It's been nice not having internet for the past month and going without a television for the past several months. I've been more or less forced to read more, especially given my recent proclivity for hermitage.

I think I'm picking up from where I left off when I was last politically engaged, but I can't really recall when that was, so I can't be certain. Regardless, listening to political hip hop and reading Carter Woodson's The Mis-Education of the Negro has had the effect of pushing my politics to the left in the conventional American sense, to the point that I even feel some grudging support for Barack Obama, primarily because he is a black man.

I don't feel bad about this. I'm not engaged in a political community, and I feel no need to explain myself for the benefit of others, though I do want to explore this trend for my own ends. No longer do I feel so tied to any particular ideology. Like a friend of mine said last night, the way to formulate opinions is not to attach a label to yourself and then subscribe to the individual tenets of that doctrine. Instead, one should develop thoughtful opinions about the world through research and experience and then see where the preponderance of those viewpoints fit within the various factions in the battle of ideas. And even after accepting a label, one should never feel obligated to associate with a belief because of some unspoken requirement for "consistency," as defined by those both within and without one's adopted school of thought.

Living in our marginally free society, libertarianism is not so simple as supporting a blanket agenda of cutting taxes and government spending. I have begun to question the wisdom that cuts to entitlement spending that target the most disadvantaged segments of society are inherently a positive course of action. In the wake of the most recent financial crisis, the American people as a whole have borne the costs placed on us by the financial and political elites, through taxation, inflation, warfare, and eliminating the incentive to save for the future by enforcing obscenely low interest rates. Because of this, until corporate welfare is trimmed down to nothing and the tax burden on those below median income is cut drastically, I see no reason to provide any benefits or relief to those in the middle and upper classes. Class warfare is a reality, whether or not those on the political right want to acknowledge it. Specifically, the banking class and their allies have been at war with the rest of the American people for decades, and the poor have been the biggest losers.

Though I've tried, and I could have my opinion changed, I feel little to no sympathy for those who have lost their homes in the wake of the busted housing bubble. I empathize with everyone for the ravishes inflation has caused throughout the economy, but as someone who has never owned a home, I see the losers in the housing game as people who took on investment risk with the awareness that things would not necessarily work out. Granted, much of the blame should be placed on the Federal Reserve and lending regulations codified by the US Congress, but who should be responsible for footing the bill?

Currently, we are all paying for it, in the form of government intervention to keep bad mortgages on the books, bailouts of irresponsible companies, and all the other manipulation and theft that our government is using to perpetuate the appearance of wealth in a failing economic system.