Once more we have a guest opinion from Larry Hodgden of Tipton. Larry is a retired Viet Nam era veteran of the USAF. He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children and seven grandchildren who keep him very busy. Family, education, church and politics have been a lifelong passion.
There was a reason you spent so many hours in History class and it can be summed up by a quote from George Santayana, “Those who ignore the lessons of History are condemned to repeat its mistakes”. Sadly too many citizens were not interested in History when they were in school and likely are not very interested in current affairs today. It would serve us all well to recall the three biggest financial scandals in the past 100 years.
The first was the “Teapot Dome Scandal” of 1922-23 which occurred during the administration of Republican president Warren G. Harding when his Interior Secretary, Albert Fall, gave low price, no bid leases to his friends in the oil business in exchange for “loans”. During three Republican administrations from 1921-1933, the failure to regulate big business and Wall Street led to our country’s “Great Depression” following the stock market collapse in 1929.
The second scandal was in the 1980’s, and came after deregulation of the savings and loan industry. Then owners of the S&Ls were able to loan themselves money which they used to speculate on the market or invest in risky ventures. When these ventures failed and the markets collapsed, the S&Ls were facing bankruptcy and their customers faced massive losses of their life savings. The cost to the government (taxpayers) to bail out the S&Ls during the Reagan and Bush I years was around 1.4 trillion dollars.
Next in 2008, after years of Republican failure to regulate the excesses on Wall Street and the risk taking by commercial banks, investment firms and insurance giants, we were faced with a near total collapse of our financial system. Lehman Brothers had gone bankrupt and faced with more failures, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Republican President G.W. Bush pleaded with congress to pass Tarp, a 700 billion dollar giveaway to the same people who created the mess. This scandal is still being uncovered day by day.
This latest financial scandal need not have happened except a Republican Congress under pressure from their wealthy friends in banking and Wall Street repealed the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) in 1999. The GSA was put in effect in 1933 to regulate banks following their risky investments which lead to the collapse of the banks and the failure of Wall Street in 1929 which ultimately brought about the “Great Depression”.
These History lessons clearly show that when Republicans talk about too much regulation they are speaking for their wealthy friends in business and on Wall Street. Republicans have shown no concern for the lives of the average American and we, the taxpayers, are still paying for their greed and self-interest. So when you vote, “ignore these lessons at your own peril” and remember that we, the taxpayers, have been warned by “History”.