I am going to offer a suggestion which I think might help the U.S. work through the economic crisis which grips our country and the world today. That I think I have an idea for the economy which I think can be part of the solution to the crisis will no doubt amaze the readers of this blog since I have confessed openly that I know nothing about economics, and I have done nothing but puzzle over what is happening and how it happens (a webpage where you can learn about economic terms and theory: http://vimeo.com/2606496).
I am going to speak from the point of view of my strength – being an Orthodox Christian priest, so I am not going to entangle myself in economic theory.
We Orthodox are in the middle of Great Lent. There is a prayer we say throughout Lent which I think could help all of the politicians, economists, bankers, lenders, financers, federal regulators, brokers, and capitalists deal with the crisis. I’ll paraphrase the one line from the prayer which is essential here (and you don’t have to even believe in any kind of deity to say this part of the prayer):
“Grant me to see my own sins and not to judge the other.”
For though I have heard countless people say regarding the financial meltdown that there is plenty of blame to go around, I have not heard many (any?) of the players in the crisis accept that blame. There have been incredibly few “mia culpas” for all of the blame that is being thrown around. Plenty of blame, but no one courageous and honest enough to own it.
So my solution is this:
Republicans look only at the ways that Republicans have contributed to the mess we are in. Then clean up your house.
Democrats look only at the ways that Democrats have contributed to the mess we are in. Then clean up your house.
Congress do the same. Federal agencies too. Wall Street also. Bankers, lenders and brokers the same. Economists and borrowers too.
For the remaining time of Lent, let no one point the accusing finger of blame at anyone outside their own house. Let each group responsible for this mess finally and honestly accept the blame for what they did to contribute to the economic collapse. Stop covering your own butts, stop trying to make everyone else look bad, stop blaming and accusing and start owning up to your share of the blame. Then you will be able to correct the faults in your own house and you will contribute positively to the recovery. Take the painful step of confessing how your political party, your organization, your profession was responsible for the economic collapse.
That’s about the only way we are going to end Washington gridlock and Wall Street greed.
[Editorial Note: I just heard this on NPR this evening. President Obama said, “Washington is all in a tizzy and everybody is pointing fingers at each other and saying it’s their fault, the Democrats’ fault, the Republicans’ fault. Listen, I’ll take responsibility. I’m the President.” It’s a start! He also said he didn’t create the mess, but acknowledged it’s now his job to deal with it. A little lame – it’s easy to accept blame when you don’t really think you are part of the problem. He was part of the Senate though. What blame will he be willing to accept from that role?]