As today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, I’d like to do some talking about two groups of pirates: Captain John and his wench Sarah, and Captain Barak and his first mate, Salty Joe. Both of these teams are campaigning to run our ship of state; they claim they can right it from its current floundering condition, and sail us into safe and secure waters. Right now, the ship is being buffeted by privateers and speculators, who are devaluing the gold and treasure in the hold, and making many in the crew lose faith. But what is the right course to take?
A landlubber paper, the Los Angeles Times, has an interesting article on the subject. It notes that Captain John’s solution is to say the current scalliwags attempting to handle the situation are wrong and should be keelhauled, and that the financial ships that are sinking should be left to go to Davy Jones, and not have a crew from the SS FRB board them and bail them out. He thinks the sole purpose of the crew of the SS FRB is to responsibly manage our money supply and inflation. However, this landlubber is curious: what would happen if we let those ships sank? Would we be able to navigate the financial waters littered with the corpses of the SS Bear Stearns, the SS Lehman Brothers, the SS AIG, the SS WaMu, and so on. Sailing in trecherous seas littered with corpses is even more dangerous. Perhaps Captain John sees the opportunity to grab some treasure of his own, and bury it on his private island? It should also be noted that Captain John was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that had oversight over every part of the economy–and he was unable to convice his crew to ensure a safe path.
Now, what does Captain Barak propose. First, he’s consulting with some pretty knowledable captains (whereas Captain John consulted with the likes of Captain Phil Gramm, who help started this whole free-for-all). Captain Barak’s advice, probably given over a good cup o’grog, came from folks like Captain Warren Buffett, Captain Robert Rubin, and Captain Paul Volcker. Captain Barak endorsed giving “broad authority” to the skilled sailors at the Treasury Department to deal with the credit crisis. But Captain Barak also has shown concern for the lowest crewman on the ship, advocating solutions that not only address those that have their gold and silver, but those who do not. He wants there to be an emergency economic plan for working crews and their families ” to help them pay for rising costs of gasoline, food and housing.” In other words, Captain Barak believes it isn’t only the captain of a ship that should benefit from good leadership; the crew is the team that makes the ship strong, and should benefit and be protected as well.
Captain Barak recognizes there are scalliwags out there, and wants stringent oversight and regulations and protection against rewards for running your ship asunder. He feels that the inadequate watchment in the crows nest, and inadequate protections for the crew, contributed to the shaky condition of the ship. Captain John? He’s arguing for oversight as well, but the type that has already happened. Captain John wants to focus on piratical lenders, forgetting that those lending practices are already gone.
So, the question is: Which team is in it just for the chest of gold? Which team do you want to guide your ship?
[Please note: In the spirit of the day, mateys, responses must continue the piratical motif and mileau. Those that disobey will walk the plank.]