Rethinking Globalism: Why We Need a Cell-Based Economy

When you listen to the pundits and economic experts, you come away with a mixed bag of blame for the economic woes the United States, and by turn the global economy, presently faces.

At first blush, it’s middle class “Annie” with her subprime mortgage, too ignorant or materialistic to admit that she can’t afford the McMansion she lives in.

At second glance, it is the greedy, not-my-problem mortgage broker who knows banks routinely sell off homeowners’ loans to Wall Street investors who will be left holding the bag when homeowners default.

Looking at it from another perspective, deregulation of the telecommunications, energy and financial markets — under the premise that free markets are self-policing and never irrational —  has been blamed for everything from the collapse of WorldCom and Enron, to the subprime mortgage crisis that has spiraled into the credit crunch we see today. And the chief instigator, critics point out, is none other than Sen. Phil Gramm, Sen. John McCain’s economic adviser. Is it possible that an adviser who perceives no harm in unchecked deregulation may be at a loss for words, leaving McCain’s presidential campaign with little choice but to run distraction — personal attacks — at a time when the rest of the nation is galvanized around the economic harm striking ever closer to home?

Flashing back to September 11, 2001, a few may trace the problem to President Bush’s not so subtle suggestion to grow the economy in support of the War on Terror. The President admonished consumers to go on spending, and thanks to what amounted to an eight-year Wall Street “stimulus” consisting of interest rate cuts and easy credit presided over by presidential appointee and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Wall Street enjoyed what some economists have described as a once-in-a-generation bull market. The bear had to make his appearance eventually.

Tracing the issue back a step further, another camp of blame-gamers pinpoints the Clinton Administration, which in 1999 “openly urged the Federal National Mortgage Association (aka “Fannie Mae”) to reduce down payment and credit requirements for ‘at risk’ borrowers in an attempt to increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers,” the Visalia-Times Delta reports.

To watch “IOUSA“, a recent documentary film following former Comptroller General David Walker, who in 2005 launched a “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour“, our present problems are tied not so much to who occupies office — for both parties suffer from what Walker calls a “leadership deficit” — but to a financial system that is leveraged as much as 30 to 1. Simply put, that means that for every dollar a bank has in reserve, it can borrow 30 more. Artificial money props up an artificial bubble. And to these Perfect Economic Storm clouds, we add Walker’s dire warning that the U.S. is headed toward bankruptcy. Unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security, not to mention a deficit approaching $11 trillion, threaten to sink our Ship of State as it is.

Will the recently passed $700 billion bailout help?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was already on its way to an 80-year low on September 29 when the original bailout package failed. All the while, the media elite insisted that without a bailout the hurt would hit Main Street. Yet when Friday, October 3rd’s second bailout passed the House, NASDAQ and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell yet again even as bank-to-bank lending rates hit new highs. Why would Wall Street react as if the bail out were bad news when virtually everything we’ve heard in the mainstream media holds otherwise?

For one, $700+ billion — which if dollar bills were laid end-to-end would reach the moon and back 138 times over — simply isn’t enough. Speculative figures run as a high as $1 trillion. For another, it came too late. The subprime crisis started over a year ago, yet only in recent weeks has President Bush acknowledged that Wall Street is grappling with a “house of cards“. Unemployment rates, meanwhile, have surged to 6.1 percent nationally. Make no mistake, however: The hurt at home doesn’t mean taxpayers won’t be called upon to write Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson yet another blank check. Worse, the bailout plan might just make the problem worse, critics allege, by heaping inflation on an already shaky financial services sector.

In the midst of all the madness, perhaps there is a greater lesson here that we risk missing. That picture begins to emerge when we contemplate the notion “too big to fail”.

What does that have to do with the human body, you ask?


Call it nature or God, but every living creature is a multiple-cell organism. In fact, we have billions of tiny cells, each working in tandem to make our bodies function.

In bygone days, economies were less like machines and more akin to living organisms. Geographically rooted, they grew their own food, lent money to their own community members, put out their own fires and built their own homes with supplies they sourced within the region.

Planes, trains and automobiles have changed all that.

Today we have multinational corporations, increasingly, whose failures threaten to resonate throughout the global economy not like a handful of harmless 3.0 earthquakes on the Richter scale, but more akin to a life-altering 10.0 “Big One”.

When globetrotting Gulliver begins to teeter as the ground beneath him sways, the little people won’t pillage him, they’ll be called upon to prop him up.

That’s the New World Economy for you. This bailout isn’t the first and it will hardly be the last.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Globalism produces unprecedented potential for gain, but it also puts us at proportional risk. Socialist or Capitalist, the role governments undeniably play is this: underwriters of corporate risk. We need to stop right there and think long and hard about whether this is the road we want to go down.

One of the core problems, which is so taken for granted that it hasn’t even received a second look in the mainstream media, is that an efficient market rests upon a surprisingly delicate underpinning. Sure there are trillions of dollars trading hands, and when all goes well it is a sight to behold. But what happens when the economic body gets sick? Can 10,000 or so massive cells do the work of millions that preceded them?

Probably not.

If our bodies were designed or evolved in the manner modern economies are structured, a simple cold, let alone heart disease or cancer, could take us out. A couple of sick cells would be sufficient to bring the entire body to its knees, a far cry from a massive, systemic infection attacking billions of cellular citizens.

The problem with conventional global economic thinking is that it operates on the assumption that the Titanic is impossible to sink. But what if we reverse that assumption and ask ourselves what we can do to protect ourselves should the unthinkable take place?

To borrow a phrase from so-called tree huggers, what we need is sustainability. Only this time, we’re not talking ecosystems. We’re talking financial systems.

There’s a lot of buzz about “going Green”. But greening our economy isn’t just about clean energy. It’s about local control. Self sufficiency. The type of accountability no regulatory system can substitute for: neighbors, coworkers, bankers and business owners who know each other by name, who rely on each other and help keep one another honest. When you see the consequences of your actions played out not on some abstract global financial stage but in your own backyard, that’s what economists call an incentive: an incentive not to play poker with your neighbor’s hard-earned money.

You might call this concept a CELL-BASED ECONOMY. It’s modeled after the only sustainable concept evolution has taught us: A cosmos filled not with a few thousand Jupiter-sized bodies with a disproportionate gravitational pull, but blanketed as far into the depths of space as an astrophysicist can see. The human and animal organism, likewise, populated not by the few and irreplaceable but the many and regenerative, whose power lies in numbers, not reach. Until economies restore a sense of “place” within the larger economic body, markets will again and again prove in need of oversight (regulation) to reign in the masterminds of greed who exploit nameless victims, which the current globalized modus operandi all but encourages.

We’ll know we’ve become active stake holders in this Cell-Based Economy the day we refer to economic participants as people, not too-big-to-fail multinational “entities” that can make or break economies in a few short months or years. Under this scenario, loan originators would not abdicate responsibility. For only when risk is no longer another investor’s problem, will much of the temptation to approve hasty, house-of-cards loans fall by the wayside.

Going back to a Main Street economy might just save us from ourselves. Why? Because the more impenetrable the global economy grows, the more difficult it becomes for would-be entrepreneurs to elbow their way in to the feeding trough otherwise known as the American Dream. President Woodrow Wilson, as far back as 1913 in a book titled “The New Freedom”, bemoaned the fact that we have a “system of credit” that all but precludes the little guy. We pay more taxes yet become, essentially, debtors, producing very little. Indeed, that is what the United States has become: Not the proud productivity-based economy of yesteryear, but a middle class-squeezing, downwardly mobile “consumer economy” whose very survival is dependent on the goodwill of global benefactors (investors). So when former Comptroller General David Walker talks about an $800 billion annual trade deficit with China in the chilling financial exposé “IOUSA”, this is the kind of leverage we’re giving away. Equally disturbing, it all but hog ties us where foreign policy is concerned. We can ill afford to anger nations who prop us up financially by opposing the actions of their Axis of Evil allies — i.e. it saber-rattling nationalists in Iran or Russia.

The fact that so many Americans have poor credit, little or no rainy day savings, and are defaulting in such vast numbers paints an unsustainable economic picture. But it isn’t just the little guy who is struggling. If nothing more, this debacle has proven that Big Business is more vulnerable than we thought. Looking back a year or so ago when the first rumblings on Wall Street were shaping up, sovereign Mid East wealth funds came to the rescue. Yet NASDAQ Chief Executive Bob Greifeld praised the 20 percent stake Arabs stood to gain in the exchange as “a good transaction for the U.S. capital markets system … it will make sure that NASDAQ is a key player in the global consolidation.” If “global consolidation”, arguably a euphemism for economic contraction, is what market bellwethers foresee, what does that say about the long-term solvency of the U.S. economy?

“Last week, just by coincidence, our national debt exceeded the $10 trillion mark, and a lot of that money is owed to foreigners. The tide of money that washed away any sense of proportion or ethics on Wall Street also comes, in part, from overseas. When critics of the $700 billion bailout complain that it was passed just to keep foreign banks happy, there’s some truth to that. It’s a chilling sign of just how much national sovereignty we’ve signed away in return for overseas capital,” writes Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Bookman.

From a foreign investment standpoint, American assets may resemble a smorgasbord — fodder for a fire sale in the event the meltdown continues despite the bailout. In one possible scenario, financial assets may go the way the U.S. steel and auto industries did in the 1980s and ’90s — outsourcing investments the way manufacturers outsourced production. Do those of us who call Main Street USA home wish to owe Asia and the Mid East our mortgages and 401Ks? When the dust settles, will the U.S. financial services sector have an American face?

If you bring the issue out of the abstract and closer to home, the global business model has brought us to a point where critical vaccines and medications may be manufactured by a single source. A pandemic, economic, political or natural disaster threaten to precipitate mass shortages or an over-reliance upon risky, untested foreign sources. One day, what if those shortages included food? What if a severe economic crisis combined with even higher fuel prices means that truckers are temporarily, even, unable to receive a paycheck? Will every grocery chain and retail store from one end of the country to the other face the prospect of bare shelves because the handful of transportation companies to survive globalization’s push toward consolidation are idling down due to strike or disaster, manmade or otherwise?

In an efficient, mechanistic economic system there are fewer and fewer redundancies. This leaves fewer players in place to go on conducting “business as usual” in the event of a crisis. The result is that problems that formerly hit one community — not unlike the recent gasoline shortages in the Southeast following Hurricane Ike — may transform from regional problems, to national shortages, to global crisis.

There is something to be said for the idea that local communities should be self sustaining to whatever degree possible. This means that each region of the country should develop or retain capacity to produce food and energy using locally sourced suppliers, and to maintain manufacturing capacity. That community model may seem unrealistic for now, but it should be a long-term national security priority.

It was once believed with near religious devotion that the world was flat. And later, infamously, that the Titanic was too sophisticated to sink. If there’s one thing this economic crisis has taught us, it’s never say never.

It would be foolhardy to manufacture a rope with only one thread, for at best it could be described as a string. Yet with each multinational merger, each death of a competitor, each transformation of a local economy into a consumer economy, we’re taking a rope of many threads and reducing it, cut by cut, to just one cord. That sort of efficiency may reduce waste and redundancy, but it’s also the source of our global economy’s potential unraveling.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink basic assumptions.

The prospect of global recession is an inevitable byproduct of an economy that has become overly enmeshed. Like a pair of young lovers joined at the hip, this is a relationship that might look ideal at first glance, but is psychologically dysfunctional. None of this is to say that international business ought to become a thing of the past. National and international trade brings commodities that are overabundant in one region to areas of the world where they are in great demand. That form of commerce cannot and should not be stopped. Rather, it is a long-overdue reminder that global business should not come at the expense of local productiveness (sustainability).

Reviving an economic system that promotes multiple supply chains with emphasis on local distribution and long-term sustainability as a hedge against instability elsewhere in the world flies in the face of what started out as a giddy 20th Century globalization experiment.

But if and when the Titanic sinks, nobody will be laughing — except, perhaps, the World Federalists.



Duck and Cover: It’s the New Survivalism

Learn how your elected representatives voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

The moon, Mars and bailouts: wrapping our minds around what $700+ billion looks like

U.S. stocks fall as recession signs outweigh bank bailout plan

Effects of Wall Street crisis will be felt for years

IMF says U.S. recession will slow global growth
Calls shock to world economy biggest ‘since the Great Depression’

Journalist critiques coverage: Media haven’t deigned to cover bailout dissent

Billions in earmarks in Senate’s bailout bill

Economists say bailout necessary, but every option has drawbacks

A curious coalition opposed bailout bill

Chicago area economists lead opposition to bailout

Protest letter from 200 economists, including three Nobel Prize Laureates

The Bailout Bill’s Foreign Aid Program
Commentary: Foreign banks should not be allowed to participate

Historic Bailout Vote: House, Senate vote on bailout plan to ‘rescue’ financial markets — Can it?

Can the U.S. learn any lessons from Sweden’s banking rescue?

A bailout that wouldn’t cost you a dime

Congressman Peter DeFazio Introduces the No Bailouts Act

No Bailouts Act supporter, Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur, on the Record

Why bailouts do not work

Crisis exposes flaws in U.S. economy, tarnishes image

Wall Street meltdown primer

Fixing up the cracks

Nice bailout. Now what else you got?

Why the bailout stinks

Wall Street’s stock has dropped in world’s eyes

Now Wall Street may shun $700bn bail-out

Feeling Wall Street’s pain, from Manila to Paris

Wall Street follows the Middle East trade route

Sleepless Nights : Mideast sovereign wealth fund investments on Wall Street

Chrysler Building on the block: sovereign mid east wealth fund to pay $800M

Lost Sovereignty: Oil-rich fund eyeing U.S. homes

Glodman Sachs sets up funds to invest bank money in the Middle East : Peter J. Cooper’s Weblog

Ron Paul’s Texas straight talk on the bailout

Ron Paul rails on $700 billion Wall Street bailout

Long-term capital: It’s a short-term memory: former Fed. Chairman Alan Greenspan’s role

McCain’s scary economic advisor

The subprime mess and Phil Gramm: An experiment in deregulation

Foreclosure Phil

The real legacy of the ‘Reagan Revolution’

Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron’s Influence Over Government Looted Billions from Americans

The coming collapse of the middle class

Does the free market erode moral character?

A New American Dream: From subprime crisis to livable communities

Is Ron Paul a Radical?

It has been called the “dirty little secret” that everyone in Washington knows.

“We suffer from a ‘fiscal cancer’. It is growing within us. And if we do not treat it, it can have catastrophic consequences for our country.”

Assume those are the words of Congressman Ron Paul, M.D.?

Think again. Those are the words of David Walker, top accountant in the nation.

The U.S. Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office hit the streets to warn Americans that the long-anticipated Economic Perfect Storm is not only brewing, it made landfall January 1, 2008. Walker began sounding an alarm last year “like an Old Testament prophet” according to CBS “60 Minutes”.

So is Congressman Paul an isolated alarmist — harping as he does on the precarious state of our “monetary system“? Or a modern-day Paul Revere?

Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to take a long-overdue look at the evidence.

Now the first thing one might be inclined to believe is that this sort of talk amounts to little more than partisan drivel. Or that it is a slam on the war.

It is neither.

Walker’s “Fiscal Wake Up Tour” has rallied economists from the conservative Heritage Foundation, the left-leaning Brookings Institute, the nonpartisan Concord Coalition and the Association for Government Accountants, among others. And without ever mentioning Congressman Paul by name, his message sounds eerily familiar.

Evidence for the Perfect Economic Storm

Here is what Walker had to say:

• Demographics: 78 million baby boomers are set to retire — which makes them pensioners and medical dependents of the US taxpayer beginning January 1, 2008. “When those boomers start retiring en masse, then that will be a tsunami of spending that could sink our ship of state if we don’t get serious.”

• Costly Entitlements: “If nothing changes, the federal government’s not going to be able to do much more than pay interest on the mounting debt and some entitlements. It won’t have the money left for anything else — national defense, homeland security, education — you name it.”

• Healthcare Costs: “Our healthcare problem is much more significant than Social Security. By that I mean, the Medicare problem is five times greater than the Social Security problem. … It’s the number one fiscal challenge for the federal government. It’s the number one fiscal challenge for state governments. And it’s the number one challenge for American business . We’re going to have to dramatically and fundamentally reform our healthcare system, in installments, over the next 20 years. And if we don’t, it could bankrupt America.”

And to Walker’s list of Perfect Economic Storm clouds, one might add:

Campaign Finance Reform: This may be a non-news story this election year, but conflicting loyalties and interests remain as entrenched as ever. Money buys influence in Washington, and influence buys wasteful pork-barrel spending and costly corporate welfare. Just ask disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

• Dollar Devaluation: “The Federal Reserve cut borrowing costs 1 percentage point to 4.25 percent in 2007, sending the dollar to $1.4967 on November 23, 2007, an all-time low against the euro,” states a January 2008 article describing investors’ attempts to seek “alternative assets” such as gold. But it only gets worse. “An OPEC switch from the dollar to the euro would bring a quick and devastating dollar and Wall Street crash that would make 1929 look like a $50 casino bet,” writes Sonja Ebron, the chief executive of blackEnergy. And, in fact, President Bush’s recent trip to the Mid East reveals that Mid East currencies, among others, are about to be “de-pegged” from the dollar according to a Yale Global report.

• Mortgage Crisis: Subprime lending practices have not only burst the real estate bubble but depressed state and local tax revenues — causing Christopher W. Hoene, the director of policy and research for the National League of Cities, to warn The Los Angeles Times: “We’re talking about a pretty tough fiscal environment for the next four or five years. Libraries, parks, after-school programs . . . you’ll see lots of questions raised about cities’ abilities to fund them.”

• Globalization: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in a December 14, 2007 NPR interview, blames “the extraordinary forces of globalization that arose subsequent to the end of the Soviet Union” for placing pressure on central banks. And far from being an America-specific concern, “housing deflation” is impacting economies worldwide “for the same reasons” they have stateside. All of which is to say that the odds of a recession are “clearly rising”, Greenspan says. But unlike earlier recessionary periods there is now at play a relatively modern financial tool that may contribute to the chaotic economic picture. So-called credit default swaps allow bondholders to insure against default. “Those who such sell such protection receive a quarterly premium based on a percentage of the amount insured,” reports the Financial Times of London. “The subprime crisis came fairly close to destabilizing the global financial system. A CDS crisis, under a pessimistic scenario [as outlined by Bill Gross of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund], could produce a global financial meltdown.”

• Energy Inflation: The Dallas Morning News reports that the Energy Information Administration forecasts a 17.7 percent jump in crude-oil prices in 2008, with a corresponding 10.7 percent boost in the price of a gallon of regular gasoline. “According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Consumer Price Index, the national average price for gasoline in May of 2007 was $3.18, a 100 percent increase from May of 2003 when it was $1.59,” reports the Appalachian News Express. “I think the Fed has some worries on inflation,” David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York tells CBS News. “We are starting to see some leakage from energy into other areas of the economy.” And while cutting interest rates encourages more borrowing and spending that may allay recessionary fears, only increased interest rates can alleviate inflationary fears by increasing the value of US-dollar investments, MSNBC senior producer John W. Schoen writes. It’s a tough tightrope to walk under any definition, but one factor relatively new to the economic mix is the skyrocketing demand for energy in India and China, among other developing nations. Meanwhile, regions such as Africa and Iran, which might otherwise ramp up production to satisfy increasing demand, are hard pressed to do so due to the presence of war or political unrest, an OPEC fact sheet states. Making matters worse, the German-based Energy Watch Group in October 2007 released a study indicating that world oil production appears to have peaked in 2006, and that by 2030 production will fall by half. “These prices are here to stay,” explains Emil Pena, member of the advisory board at Calgary-based Genoil Inc. and the executive director of the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute at Rice University in Houston, speaking to in a January 2, 2008 interview after crude oil prices hit $100 per barrel.

• Bread & Butter Inflation: Although estimates vary, the picture of rising food prices is uniformly stark. Grocery increases in 2007 ranged from a 28 percent increase for eggs to a four percent hike overall according to USDA economists. Those prices are estimated to increase another three percent in 2008, with the gap between eating out and home cooking expected to narrow, The Dallas Morning News reports. The sharpest grocery increases since 1990 are expected to continue in 2008, with a disproportionate increase — roughly six to seven percent — in soy oil products and wheat items such as cereal, crackers and baked goods. Milk, meanwhile, is expected to exceed $5 per gallon this year. And it isn’t just consumers who are feeling the pain. “Since last year, wholesale food prices have increased 7.2 percent. If the trend continues, it will be the biggest food price increase in the last 27 years,” the National Restaurant Association told the Nashville Business Journal.

• Unchecked Borrowing: Walker maintains that we are essentially running up a credit card debt “against our grandchildren”. The outstanding public debt as of January 12, 2008 is a mind-boggling: $9,201,303,778,567.90 according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. The estimated population of the United States is 304,063,331 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $30,261.14 — or an average of $1.48 billion per day since September 29, 2006. According to a March 2006 MSNBC article, the war costs alone amount to $200 million per day — and this before factoring in the cost of potentially widening the Mid East war effort to include Iran or Pakistan.

The Bottom Line: “It’s the economy, stupid!

Concern for the economy, for currency devaluation, for overextending our obligations — these are not conservative or liberal issues but are, in fact, central to the health of the entire nation.

Economists and grandparents alike have been talking for what may seem like forever about the day when Social Security, among other entitlements, would become insolvent. According to our nation’s top accountant, that day has come — and will continue to bear down on our economy over the next 20 years.

“I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” Walker said, “but our own fiscal irresponsibility.”

From all available evidence, somebody is going to have the unsavory task of putting our fractured economy back together again. Ready or not, that burden will come to rest upon our next president. But how will we fare if we elect someone who does not even have the wherewithal to prioritize these vital economic issues on the campaign trail — let alone offer a concrete plan to fix them?

One reason we do not hear more on this subject is that it is just plain scary. By the very nature of the problem, paying the piper will entail spending cuts to programs that may not necessarily deserve to be cut. The alternative is increased taxation. Either way, we are entering a period of sacrifice. Consequently, it is not the president or his or her party in the coming years that will provoke seemingly radical solutions. Rather, the economic times in which we live promise to demand out-of-the-box thinking in order to stave off federal bankruptcy. But try getting any sense of that reality from the campaign trail. The word is out among campaign strategists: Voters want a feel-good candidate.

What we need is an experienced and principled leader — a president who is unafraid to make the tough decisions that tough times call for. The problem? A number of presidential candidates, for all their enthusiasm and potential, are untested at the federal level. Not so, Congressman Paul. With three 10-year terms of Washington experience under his belt, bona fide wartime experience and may years serving on banking, finance and gold committees in Washington, Congressman Paul brings to the table qualities and qualifications that few 2008 presidential candidates can match. And unlike so many politicians who are desensitized to Washington largess, Congressman Paul’s voting record proves something even more telling: A man good for his word.

In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Congressman Paul is the “one exception to the Gang of 535” on Capitol Hill. And in testament to his uncommonly strong backbone, Congressman Paul has received awards and honors from organizations such as the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Council for a Competitive Economy and Young Americans for Freedom, among others, his profile reveals.

If Congressman Paul seems radical, it is likely a reaction to the sharp contrast between his traditional limited government priorities and modern-day Republicans and Democrats who are not as different as they once were — particularly when it comes to big government and big spending. So if the mere act of calling upon the government to return to its Founding principles is radical, it is less a reflection upon Congressman Paul and more a reflection upon us. Not surprisingly, Congressman Paul’s admonishment to reduce or retire some of the agencies added to the federal government during the Progressive Era may seem counterintuitive in today’s context of presumptive necessity. However, as many of his academic endorsers from the History News Network appreciate, the historic record indicates that many of those agencies have been controversial since their inception — and have remained controversial as they mature into bloated bureaucracies that burden taxpayers, are ineffective at delivering on their promises, contribute to the federal deficit, or encroach upon states’ rights and constitutionally-protected individual liberties. So rather than broad-brush an endangered specimen of traditional statesmanship against the backdrop of prevailing lassitude, perhaps it is time we let Dr. Paul out of the archivists’ box, dust him off, and put his restorative skills to work.

The doctor may prescribe a hard pill to swallow — but it just might cure what ails us.

Now all that remains to be seen is this: Do we elect the candidate who tells us what we want to hear? Or what we need to hear?

Or as the Comptroller General might put it: Do we want the cancer or the cure?