Friday, September 14, 2012

Part 1: Introduction

My dad likes to describe himself as a NRA Democrat, but he jokes that he's referring to one of the earliest agencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" called the "National Recovery Administration". I think one of his favorite possessions is a portrait of FDR made in the 30's given to him by my great aunt. What makes that portrait special is that it also has a tiny NRA sticker in the bottom right corner.
           I've only recently come to appreciate the portrait, for more than its historical value anyway. Through my last 2 years in high school and my first year in college, I was a firm Libertarian. I despised social safety nets and so called "welfare-queens", believed firmly in "that government is best which governs least" and thought that only a totally unregulated market could bring about economic prosperity. I can picture seventeen year old self fuming over Prof. Krissman's claim that three main "isms" (Imperialism, Colonialism, Capitalism) are responsible for so much cultural devastation. But ever since the recession started, I've drifted away from my laissez faire philosophy and since then I've adopted a very different political and economic outlook. It's hard to argue with the case of Brazil (RCA p. 46-47) or with the sad history of Malawi (C&C Ch 17). But, I can feel the lingering libertarian inside saying "No! This is what happens when government gets involved with the economy! That's why things are such a mess!"
             So, rather than read about far away places and stay in this fog, I want to see how these kind of policies effect us here. I'd like to talk to business owners in downtown Arcata and see how they're doing during this terrible recession, stop by city hall and learn what they did with money given to them by the Recovery Act (enter your zip code to see the projects in your area!) and above all, see the mechanics of these policies in action and how they effect my neighbors. I want to have a more detailed understanding of these economic policies and though I'm fairly confident in my own current position, I'm eager to review it and learn more. I don't want to give the impression that I don't anything about these issues, only that I know my knowledge is superficial at best. Should be interesting!

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