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Vail Valley Voices: There they go again

Paul Rondeau
Vail, CO, Colorado

Sometime in May we had a double header of local ideologues expressing their one-sided views of national politics.

We had the national income and expense statement presented –something even Congress cannot agree what it looks like, considering all the complexities of our government.

Then we had dozens of reasons President Obama is the worst person in the world. If only the presidency had that much power and influence.

One thing that seems to hold true over history is folks can only comprehend and maintain in their heads about three things (sich as “friends, Romans and countrymen”) or more using a catchy acronym, like USA PATRIOT act: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.

So here are my three things, trying to be even handed.

Fully remembering President Reagan:

— He truly was the “great communicator,” including his famous statement, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” 25 years ago on June 12, 1987.

— He had an agenda (less government and lower taxes), but also had part of the $125 billion savings and loan bailout on his watch (big dollars at that time), and his staff later admitted their “trickle down” economic theory had no merit.

— He understood the power of the “C” word (compromise) in his willingness to work and joke with Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neal, and in doing so did raise taxes to accomplish his greater goals. In short, would he recognize the current Republican Party?

Remembering a surplus and no national debt: During the last years of the Clinton administration, we had a surplus and no national debt in sight. Alan Greenspan was even called before Congress to explain the implications of not having national debt! So what happened?

o Less revenue from the so-called Bush tax cuts.

o 9/11 and quasi-9/11 expenditures including ramped up homeland security (vastly increased size of NSA, airport screeners, etc.); the $4 trillion wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (Rep. Ron Paul’s estimate considering salaries, equipment, GI Bill, on-going medical costs and more recently realizing 45 percent of vets are asking for some form of disability payment).

o The housing bubble burst in mid-2008 from a 10-year or longer ramp up of housing prices spearheaded by both congressional parties pushing for more homeownership via Fannie and Freddie (and brought to a head by President Bush’s famous State of the Union statement,” Every new homeowner is advancing democracy”).

n All this led to uncharted territory with the Great Recession, second only to the Great Depression of the 1930s and hence causing lost economic activity and fewer jobs; lost tax revenue collected with fewer people working; and more expenditures, including stimulus checks sent to all American households by Presidents Bush and Obama, increased-extended benefits for unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid, etc., and noting the Bush and Obama bailouts have largely been repaid.

Remember it could happen again: A small number of very clever folks managed to get Prohibition as a national law in 1920 (it was repealed in 1933), causing the excesses of the 1920s, the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that lasted until the start of World War II in 1941. This was truly going off the cliff. We could well duplicate Prohibition-type irrationality.

In summary, forget the details under the three headings, but remember the three headings that could provide some understanding and guidance for our future.

Paul Rondeau is a Vail resident.


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