Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Pooh Moment

I probably shouldn't think and drive at the same time, that is to say, think about 'other' things, but I do. I was listening to a discussion on NPR today about the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act back in 1913. It was a time where politicians were suspicious of a centralized bank, and wealthy bankers wanted a private system with limited interference by the government. Republicans favored the plan brought forth by Senator Nelson Aldrich, which was private banks, little government influence but with the caveat that government would be represented on the Board of Directors. Progressive Democrats favored a federal reserve system, owned and operated by the government and out of the control of the 'money-trust' on Wall Street. Conservative Democrats fought for privately owned, decentralized reserve system that would still be free of control by Wall Street.

When all the hoopla in Congress ended, a compromise was made between private and public control and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed with most Democrats voting in favor of the act and most Republicans voting against it. The act was a result of distrust of a private banking system and fear of another banking crisis like the one that occurred in 1907. The Federal Reserve Bank is a public-private institution, a centralized and decentralized structure that serves as both the banker's bank and the government's bank.

Anyway, as this discussion went on I got to thinking about the current healthcare legislation being discussed in Congress today, and how similar the two situations are. We have those who fear and distrust the health insurance companies, those that fear a collapse of our healthcare system by misuse or over-use by the uninsured. Those who are afraid that any change to the current system would put their own situations in jeopardy. Those that fear the President wants the government to have complete control over their healthcare life, including choosing the time they will die.

I have always believed that there are intelligent people out there, even in Congress, who could sit down and hash out a program that would be an improvement upon what we have today, and it would work. But those rascals have to stop blabbering off the top of their heads, stop spreading lies and mostly stop being negative and use the brains that God gave them and come up with a workable solution. In a nutshell people, go to work. Read, highlight and underscore those 1,000+ pages of the bill. Write notes in the margins, constructive suggestions. And don't just have your best aides do all the reading, take some of the face time you spend before the TV cameras, and instead read the bill yourself.

And when it is all said and done, ponder these thoughts from Buddha.

O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim

For preacher and monk the honored name!

For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.

Such folk see only one side of a thing.*

*Source: Randy Wang, The Blind Man and the Elephant. Jainism and Buddhism. Udana 68-69: Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant

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