Anyone who plays competitive games knows that referees are absolutely essential for the games to be played out without bloodshed let alone unjust tactics and outcomes.

More so in modern democratic economies referees are essential to make our systems work.  The robber barons of the late 19th century were challenged by our great progressive, Teddy Roosevelt, and when the Wall St. boys ran amuck and brought us the great depression of 1929, FDR and the New Deal restored order to our society by introducing not only benefits such as Social Security for those in need, but also regulation of the powerful individuals and institutions that otherwise could lash out against the public.

Reagan came along — a 3rd rate movie actor — and sabotaged our regulatory mechanisms — thus setting in motion precisely what we are now seeing — corporations and other interests greedily taking whatever they can from the public both in general and you and me.  Our family is owed thousands of dollars by a medical insurance outfit — Cigna — which has been identified both with its huge profits and with cheating its insured.  Fortunately for us some of our doctors have forgiven the difference owed to them per a clear cut contract that Cigna defied with impunity.

Some times one must distinguish individual crooks from an outlaw system.  The latest news report from France is that a low level employee has managed to con a major French bank out of $7+ billion.  This happened to one of our U.S. banks several decades back and it went out of business.

However, the current global meltdown looks to be the result of a systematic flaw in our economy — the failure to regulate those who would grab profits at the cost of us all.  Massive efforts are being made to restore public confidence in our global economy — but there is no guarantee that we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  Millions of Americans are in deep trouble — their homes at risk, their pensions depleted, their jobs uncertain.

Too bad Mr. Reagan is not still around to take a bow.  One wonders how the bulk of the Republican presidential candidates and an occasional Democratic one can call upon his name for anything?

Watch and see — and above all hope for the best!  That may be all that we can do from the sidelines.  Vote smart!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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