Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up

The Major (Ret.) continues to hype his new employer on Facebook and Twitter, and this morning he posted a link to an NYT column by Joe Nocera that took me three Dramamine and a shot of insulin to get through. Entitled “Government’s Not Dead Yet” (neither is smallpox, by the way), Nocera’s piece is a paean to those bright-eyed idealists who just want to help the bejeezus out of all of us.

He starts by mentioning his mentor, a child of the FDR years and Great Society retread, whom he describes as “a supreme idealist who believes deeply in the good that government can do.” And what inspiration does said idealist find in those days gone by?

“The New Deal and the Great Society were eras when “money was not the driving force in choosing a career,” he said. “Passion was. People wanted to be able to do something about the country’s most pressing problems — and government was the place to do that.”

Now, I would agree with that, if by “most pressing problems” we mean folks who want to blow us up or subjugate us, but I suspect he has different candidates for that title. And of course, there’s that little matter of the folks who want to make money having their earnings expropriated to pay for the passionate people, but shut up, he explained.

In any case, Nocera tells us that the CFPB is a shiny new example of  his old friend’s dream, and introduces us to the bright-eyed young idealists who are just so gosh-darned happy to help ya help ya help ya. He starts by mentioning that it’s the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, who we already know sees business folk as Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, sipping tall cool glasses of the sweat of exploited workers. Fortunately, they have been able to atone for that by doing things like subsidizing her employers at Harvard.

As we move to the current unaccountable princeling director we learn that he’s stocking the joint chock full of young idealists: ” “To corral their sense of idealism and put it in the service of improving life for the average consumer, that is a tremendous thing.” Why yes! It’s the sort of idealism we’ve seen in the dung-flinging monkey pits and rape camps of Occupy, isn’t it?

These young idealists include former consultants, designers, and lobbyists — I mean, legislative directors — and they are united in their desire to tend to the people who aren’t smart enough either to avoid a bad deal, or to take their business elsewhere when they think they’re getting one.

So you see? We’re not paying for an unaccountable, self-funding, and likely unconstitutional branch of the bureaucracy; we’re funding chipper young idealists with a can-do spirit, presumably because the rest of America is incapable of looking after it’s own interests. Hey, kids, let’s put on a government!

Makes your heart flutter, doesn’t it? Or maybe points a bit further south.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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7 Responses to Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up

  1. majormaddog says:

    What else can I say, but :-p.

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  3. Jeff says:

    The penultimate paragraph of that NYT column has some weird things in it.

    When I reported back to Charlie about my inspiring day at the new consumer bureau, he wasn’t surprised. “The beautiful thing about a new agency is that everyone is very driven to accomplish the mission.”

    Even after 18 years in D.C., I’ve failed to develop an aesthetic that considers a new bureaucracy “beautiful.” A cathedral garden bursting with spring flowers, yes. An office full of people sitting at desks, not so much.

    “As they mature,” he added, “that’s when people become more concerned with self protection, and maneuvering for the next promotion.” True enough, but a problem for another day.

    The columnist acknowledges that the idealism will soon fade and asks that we focus on five idealistic workers, right now, rather than the constipated bureaucracy their workplace will (“true enough,” he admits) become.

    That column is not the ringing endorsement he thinks it is.

  4. The Ancient says:

    1) Find a bunch of kids who couldn’t begin to explain how the banking system works in either theory or practice.

    2) Put them in jobs where they will never earn enough to pay off their college loans.

    3) Wait three to five years.

    4) Watch as they begin to bail to represent interests diametrically opposed to their agency’s operation.

    5) Repeat as needed.

    P.S. Charles Peters once ran a little magazine that almost no one ever read. He attracted dozens of young Harvard graduates (and others) to write for him, and zealously promoted his vision of something he called “neoliberalism.” In Peters’s hands, neoliberalism had quite a lot to do with attitude, but almost nothing to do with public policy in practice — because neither Peters nor the kids on his bus knew much of anything about that. (There was a weird Andy Hardy quality to Peters in those days — “Come on, kids! Let’s go out to the barn and put on a government!”)

    P.P.S. Sargeant Shriver was my late father-in-law’s best friend and roommate in college. He always contended that Shriver was a fine fellow until he fell in with the Kennedys.

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