Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016.10.09 Maybe It IS the Economy, Stupid?

Some years ago I changed my political party affiliation with some trepidation, sneaking into Town Hall and feeling like “Judas.” I used to argue with my father the Republican when I was a college student full of zeal and ill-digested information. Once I told him I favored economic socialism and political democracy. I still might. He loved me anyway.

My parents had been loyal Republicans their whole adult lives, and I followed along without much thought until I recognized that the values of my Christian faith coincided closely with those of the Democratic party. Biblical heroes championed social justice for the marginalized and the poor, an economy that served all people, not just the rich, and yes, a government that looked more like Robin Hood —foolishly generous—than the CEO of a huge corporation—foolishly hoarding. I still consider it a privilege to pay taxes to help those less fortunate than I am enjoy equal access to the ample resources we have in this wealthy country.

Over time I understood politics from my parent’s generational point of view. They were twenty-somethings when the Great Depression threatened their dreams, made them afraid, very Republican, and politically focused on “the economy, stupid.”  Dad was honest, generous, hard-working, and not a corporate show-off. He consumed martini lunches with the best of the “mad men,” yet he was a principled capitalist. In fact he left his NYC ad agency in 1970 when the executives started manipulating their ads to enhance products. He said it was unethical.

I bet today Dad would be voting for Hillary, not only because he was the father of three daughters, but also because she understands the basics of principled economic policies.  This daughter would say she knows how to kick ass and stay balanced.

I recently received a note from a brother Episcopal priest in Overland Park, Kansas, the Rev. Robert Terrill. He makes a connection between Christian faith and the economy, just as I did years ago and do today. He wrote:

“My college degree is in business and economics and over the years I've held fast to the Keynesian principles that have governed progressive economic policies of Democratic Administrations. These economic principles closely represent the ideals of Frederick Denison Maurice, the architect of Anglican Christian Socialism, though I am not a socialist. I'm in favor of regulated, controlled Capitalism that does not screw labor and consumers. The attached article is an editorial that was published by the Kansas City Star, our metropolitan newspaper:

This year's Presidential race is about personalities. I disagree. My vote will be about economic
principles.Conservatives suggest that the principle of free market capitalism is hope of the nation.

However, in each historic period this principle results in a national and world wide depression,
including high unemployment, low productivity, high interest rates, and low acquisition of capital for investment. Think 1933 and 2008.

Progressives have historically corrected these economic blunders by increased government
borrowing and spending, reduced interest rates, increased borrowing by business and
consumers, increasing the flow of money into the economy, and thereby producing jobs,
increased profits and higher wages, increased taxable income, thereby reducing the federal
deficit. This occurred in both the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton.

This is why I will vote for Secretary Clinton, not Donald Trump. Both personalities, while
important, are insignificant.

Hey Dad! Is God a Democrat? Are you one yet?  I love you no matter what.