Tuesday, March 30, 2010


An article in today's Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, March 30, 2010, says that the "Securities Debate Is All About Trust".  While the article discusses whether and at what amount should Congress dictate that banks own part of the loans made, with the rest sold to other investors.  But the issue is vastly deeper.  Down to the philosophical differences between conservatives and liberals.  Trust.

Trust is the key difference between conservatives and liberal. It manifests itself by conservatives encouraging decisions to be made by millions of individual citizens, consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and even politicians, trusting people’s intelligence and abilities to make such decisions. On the other hand are liberals, who believe in decisions made by the few, typically politicians, from a central point, such as, for example, Washington, D. C. They believe that only the chosen few (politicians) are equipped to make decisions for the many, who cannot be trusted to make “good” decisions for themselves. The “securities debate” is simply an extension of that divide. A shorthand is “small government” versus “big government”.

Conservatives blame much of the recent financial meltdown and current recession on the single-point of decision-making of the Federal Reserve Chairman and the push by a very small number of Democratic members of Congress for “affordable housing” brought to this country by community development regulations and opening Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to less-than-prime borrowers. Thus their prescription is to get the federal government out of the housing market and to allow the free markets to determine who does and does not receive a housing loan.

Liberals believe that business people and bankers are not to be trusted, that they will foist anything on the public to make a profit. They also believe that the public – citizens, consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and even politicians are not intelligent enough to make decisions for themselves. Therefore government must dictate what can be offered for sale to them.


This country was based on the then-unique notion that people were capable of making up their own minds and doing what was right for each of them, which in the long run would, in aggregate, be the best for society. Certainly there were “winners” and “losers”, circumstances where a few had a lot, many more had much and the few had little. The law of the jungle, one could say.

That “unfairness” was and is not acceptable to liberals, who want to cause markets to be“fair” by making most major decisions for the citizenry, thus altering the core of American society toward “Equalitism” where everyone is more equal instead of competition where the exceptional are rewarded with more.

Therein is the divide in America. The “securities debate” is simply one symptom of that divide.


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