Passing the word

We live in the country near a town of 13,000, Menomonie, Wisconsin which is served by a bi-weekly newspaper called the Dunn County News. There are some fairly fierce political arguments in Menomonie and the DCN is good enough to cover most of them, at least in their courageous Letters feature.

I sent John's latest blog to them and sort of negotiated the length of what became the following letter to the editor. Unfortunately they had to edit the section on a viable auto industry but this is a farming community, or used to be.

I include the headline note from editor Barb Lyon because I think it is pretty cool. Jake's was my favorite family-owned steakhouse which went under three months ago - a few years after the entry of the usual suspects, McDonalds's
Applebees, Wendy's, Green Mill, Pizza Hut, etc.

She was also good enough to provide the link to The Distributist Review:

"Tom--I won't have room to run the entire letter, but here's how I've edited it:
Head: Solidarity trumps trend of Robin Hood in reverse

"I thank the Dunn County News for once again providing the community forum for discussion of difficult issues.
There may be no more critical issue today than the debate on our failing economy, an American crisis of epic proportions, and one that promises to leave us with even more radical changes in the way America conducts its business.
It now looks like the most radical change of all might be to certify the “bigness” of Big Business, to make it even bigger and more irresponsible, while continuing the obliteration of small, family-owned businesses, family farms, entrepreneurship and living wages.
It bothers me that John Lynch went under under, while the politicos welcomed and assisted national franchises to come in here and compete with Jake’s. What are they thinking of? Why doesn’t Jake’s get the Big Government support?
It bothered me that Joe the Plumber’s whining about the JUST distribution of wealth got national promotion. And it pains me greatly that a lot of people have apparently forgotten why we loved Robin Hood and have, instead, warmed to Robin Hood-ism in reverse.
It would be good if people would trust their senses. It would be a good thing if we can all return to common sense and agree, for starters, that the sole moral purpose of business is service to the community at a fair profit.
The antitidote for all the global baloney — the massive and crooked banks, the criminal trade deals, and the epidemic of selfishness that has sickened our country and promises to destroy more than Jake’s — starts with family solidarity. The core goodness of America and our communities is in what most of us learn in our families and what we liked about Robin Hood.
Our country was not supposed to be based on philosophy of dog-eat-dog. America is supposed to be about friendship and solidarity. We could see that at Jake’s, at Larry’s Barber Shop, and at all the coffee shops.
But most of us are not so able to put our common sense into words so well as Catholic Justice writer and economis, John Medaille, the leading advocate n the United States for a virtuous, community-based economy. Here’s a brief sample from an article entitled “Too Big to Succeed.”

“Citibank, the nation’s largest bank, has received a $20 billion bailout, along with government guarantees for $300 billion of shaky assets; in addition to giving the bank an enormous amount of money, the public assumes all of the risks of being a banker, while Citibank gets to keep all the profits. That is to say, the profits are privatized, but the risks are socialized, combining the worst features of capitalism and socialism in a toxic combination.
“Citibank is no ordinary bank. Together with JP Morgan/Chase, it owns the controlling interest in the New York Federal Reserve Bank, which in turn owns 53 percent of the Federal Reserve System. This makes the entire banking system sensitive to the needs of two New York banks. The president of the New York Fed has a permanent position on the board of the Federal Reserve. And who is that outgoing New York Fed president? It is none other than the new Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner.”
Medaille points out that most regional banks did not engage in the risky behaviors demonstrated by the New York banks. “They made sensible loans. But Citi had no reason to be sensible; with their size and influence, they knew that they could not be allowed to fail. ... Yet, their actions weakened the whole economy, which is weakening the books of even the most cautious banks; with the economy failing, even formerly reliable borrowers cannot repay their loans.”
Medaille points out, “The solution is not to bail out failure. Rather, it is to ensure that no entity every again can be large enough to hold hostage the public purse. Don't bail it; that just reinforces a power structure that can no longer succeed. Rather buy it up and sell it piecemeal to the regional banks. ... The toxic loans can be sold for whatever the market will bear; the healthy parts will make the remaining banks stronger, but none of them will be strong enough to dominate the banking business. Buy it up and break it up.”
To read the entire article, go to

I’d be happy to pop for coffee or beer with anyone interested in discussing John’s thoughts — and yours.
Tom Laney


Paleocrat Monday, January 26, 2009 at 12:06:00 PM CST  

John Medaille, the leading advocate n the United States for a virtuous, community-based economy.

Gotta love it! I am proud to have met John, and consider him on of my favorite authors. His material is priceless. It is such an honor to work alongside men like him.

Restoring all things in Christ,
Jeremiah Bannister

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