Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.
... in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order: there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments, so that there will be an end to speculation with other people's money; and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt, inaugural address, March 4, 1933
Perhaps some historical reflection is needed during this time of turbulent financial markets in which politicians hastily try to shore up the economy with government funds. Listening to this speech today is inspiring yet alarming at how history is repeating itself. I am not saying that the economy is now in the same state as it was in 1933, but it seems clear that those confronting the current crisis of capitalism lack a vision. Republicans rejected the $700 billion bailout as a "slippery slope to socialism," but if it is, it is the wrong kind of socialism because it doesn't go far enough.