When I started this blog, I knew there would come a day when I changed some position I held or found some mistake I had made earlier. In real life most people don't listen to me, I suppose, so few people can point out my contradictions. :)
At any rate, I have been reading economics so much it has changed a number of my political opinions. As far as economics and moral principles are concerned, the experience has generally sharpened my already existing belief structure. At least I wasn't wrong there, phew. But my political beliefs have degenerated into a morass of uncertainty. This is not to say that I have changed parties or my unflagging support of Barrack Obama. I'll believe in the hope and changey thing until the history thingy resolves the matter. Mostly I'm confused about historical things I always assumed I understood but did not.
While I have been on the right track in my economic thought, I find that I have been mistaken in political ideas. I could give many examples of where I now believe I have been incorrect, but I'll spare you, umm, myself. Let me give you the first concrete belief that developed a crack that put my mind into an Alan Greenspan type senior moment. In political discussions, I would sometimes point to the seemingly startling economic numbers of the Clinton administration. Left dangling in the back of my brain twisting in the breeze that often blows through, was the correct notion that economic cycles do not necessarily correspond with election cycles.
It's not that President Bill Clinton's economic numbers aren't terribly impressive but that they occured during a partictularly favorable confluence of events. Then President Clinton hired some Wall Steet guys and reappointed Alan Greenspan to the Fed. Pragmatism seemed fairly safe. And perhaps, just, perhaps, had his boys been guided in the right direction when it came to the need for regulation of a certain new and growing sector of Wall Street, some outlined fully to them by Brooksley Born, the numbers would have been less impressive but safer. However, the problems of America's losses in the new wave international capitalism weren't addressed or solved. Free trade policies like NAFTA would have some effect, both positive effects (luckily in the short term through efficiencies of trade) but problematic ones (in the long run as Mexico became a new place for jobs to escape to.)
I guess my first inklings of trouble for my unwavering support of President Clinton may have began with the Lewinski scandal. I still maintain that he was set up completely and meticulously by the Republicans. But there was the flaw in character in the form of an exagerated "I am not a crook" type lie. Still firmly behind him I road out the storm that did irreperable harm to our country created just so the Republicans could take the White House in what turned out to be more of a coop than an election.
President Clinton's intelligent speech during the next dark 8 years, though often with a flavor of rewritten history, seemed so refreshing when compared to President Bush's gynocologists showing love to their patients. But as Hillary ran for President and racism seeped out of her go to guy, my love affair was damaged beyond repair.
Still, I had the undisputable economic numbers to wave around in political arguments. When I look at the overall picture of the decline of American economic strength since Nixon's abandonment of the gold standard and reliance on price controls, I am shaken enough to realize Clinton's numbers were small potatoes harvested in an endlessly worstening potato famine.