01/29/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011


The final 2008 "days are dwindling down to a precious few" and I face my annual task of sorting things out so that at least there will be some sort of order in my life as I begin 2009. Needless to say that I do not mean emotional order as that would be a bit much to look for at this time of my life.

My four years of defending my country from imminent invasion by those wonderful folks who reside in North Korea were spent at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill. For the first year or so I was in school learning Radio Maintenance as well learning to be a teacher, and that was followed by my teaching in that school for three long years.

Like the pop up ads that mysteriously appear on my computer screen, my thoughts about my country being a warrior nation keep popping up as well. With the benefit (or detriment) of things happening more then a half century ago, were the deaths and maiming of our sons and daughters in Korea, Vietnam. Iraq, and Afghanistan necessary, and were/are any of them waged for the reasons provided to us at the time?

Now is the time for me to move along to more frivolous thoughts.

Among the varied things that I first learned and then taught myself was "there is a proper tool for every job!" This was a good thing to know in that as I became a husband, father, and then home owner, fixing things was relatively easy when you had the correct tool to do the job.

Yesterday, the arm rest from my desk chair fell off as two bolts became unscrewed at the same time. This would present no problem in that I of course was up to my ass in tools. I of course had my original Air Force tool box that contained all of the stuff that I had used while working on electronic equipment. Unlike my friend and Air Force roommate Richard C. Miller, this stuff had hardly been used since 1955 when I left the service. In truth it had hardly been used even when I was in the service.

Nevertheless, when I went looking for the proper tool to fix the chair I noticed that I had four soldering irons along with all kinds of solder, six hammers, assorted screw drivers, as well as a gazillion other tools that had barely felt a human touch in well over fifty years.

In addition to the tool box, I had a variety of other tools, tapes, and glues in a couple of file boxes. I knew that I needed an Alan wrench, found a bunch if them and only discovered that I did not have the one that I needed after about an hour of searching.

Off I went to the hardware store to buy what I needed and of course these things are not sold individually so I bought the entire set.

The chair is now mostly fixed, and I refuse to explain why it is only mostly fixed and that will be for another time.

I will now surreptitiously segue into the obscure point I wanted to make.

As there is a "proper tool" for every job, there is as well a "proper law" for every transgression that is already in existence with the Feds, the State, the City, the County, with my Rabbi or wherever else they keep track of and enforce laws.

As I remember so many financial transgressions of the past as well as the present, I wonder why we are not insisting that the laws and regulations that we have on the books be enforced.

Was it possible for Madoff, Enron, Worldcom, the S&L's, the sub-prime mess to have happened while we had un-enforced laws that could have stopped the financial carnage from developing the way that it did?

I encountered a "sample" of this stuff when I had a very brief interlude with Enron's Broadband Company. It was obvious to me that there was some strange stuff going on there and I wonder what the "regulators" or "auditors" were aware of?

As a New Yorker, I have a virtual unlimited history of pedestrian violations like crossing in the middle of the street, jaywalking, and crossing against a red light.

Just try doing any of that in Beverly Hills. I have joked that is relatively safe to commit armed robbery in Beverly Hills, but never try and cross against a red light as you will almost certainly be cited for the violation.

Republican Conservatives have said that if we free the private sector from the regulatory process they will behave appropriately. Sure they will.

I naively believe that the EPA and the laws that created the agency are being enforced. I similarly believe that the FDA will protect me from drugs and food that are bad for me. How about the Security and Exchange Commission?

Society does not work when it takes for granted the system's corruptibility. Make laws to protect society and expect them to be enforced. When the enforcers themselves are compromised, society crumbles.

After eight years of a purported "compassionate conservatism," the new Obama society should give our country the "tools" of:


As there is a tool for every job, in this instance there is a job for every tool, as well as a law for every transgression, and we as a nation need each and every one of them, and we need these laws enforced. Wouldn't that be an interesting and unusual thing for us to do?

Norman Horowitz