The “Money Question” and today’s besetting political problems.

May 20th, 2008

An idea for your consideration: During the 19th century, the commanding issue of financial politics in the United States was the interrelation of the money supply with a national bank. Andrew Jackson, for one, hated the idea of a national bank.


It’s hard for us to understand today how seriously this issue was taken, how deeply it divided American politicians, and how long it lasted. Party platforms were built around this, and whole sessions of Congress debated it at length and with great bitterness.

The issue lasted for three-quarters of a century, such that seventy years after Jackson rose to the White House, William Jennings Bryan could campaign on the still-controversial issue of a bimetallic currency.


And then came the creation of the Federal Reserve. At which point the issue dried up altogether. Poof.

Not everything works that way. The other great question of the 19th century in U.S. politics — slavery — was even larger, and it was only solved via the bloodiest conflict this hemisphere has ever seen. So I don’t want to suggest that every political issue has such a straightforward solution.

But it’s worth considering: what’s the piece of policy that would erase Issue X, Issue Y, or Issue Z as a bone of contention within U.S. politics? Or within international affairs?

Please, ladle your thoughts upon me in the comment thread.


(Images of Jackson and Bryan via Wikipedia.)

2 Responses to “The “Money Question” and today’s besetting political problems.”

  1. Zane Safrit Says:

    Oil or energy supplies. Look at our national budgets for GDP and the federal budgets, ok deficit….Then look at how much is centered around insuring a steady supply of oil, from the defense budget, to tax breaks, to the percent of our household budgets, to the cost of the war in Iraq, to the constant obsession with the topic, to the opportunity costs as we can’t afford now to address other challenges like infrastructure, schools, health care, sustainable energy supplies, innovation, our status as a debtor nation, etc, etc.

    Find a sustainable, self-sufficient, source of energy…and we free up a lot of resources for other issues.

  2. Sheryl A. McCoy Says:

    It seems to me, historically speaking, many solutions are so obvious as to be completely invisible to those living at the moment, rather like “Flatland”. Then in a burst of creativity, we see the third dimension and our world is now longer flat.

    Personally, I hate to agree with Boone Pickens (although my husband thinks he walks on water), but we need a comprehensive energy policy.

    That is where my agreement with Mr. Pickens stops. He proposes that we use natural gas from our country, but I propose that we invest in small alternative energy plants at each place that uses energy. These energy plants could use a variety of free energy sources, like solar, wind, water or exercise bike power.

    Used in tandem with one another, it is highly unlikely that anyone would need to purchase energy for their homes or apartments again. Don’t be confused by those who say solar isn’t viable. I saw a simple DIY setup explained very clearly about 3 months ago in Mother Earth News, It was very inexpensive.

    Like the Nike slogan. Just Do IT! It is amazing how quickly Americans can innovate our technology when we are motivated.

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