Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This Isn’t Horseshoes



And close doesn’t count. Bethany McLean got so close in this editorial in the The New York Times but she needs to go (at least) one step further.

Meet the Real Villain of the Financial Crisis

”Yet, in the end, it comes down to this: Goldman Sachs, ACA Capital, IKB Deutsche Industriebank and even the rating agencies never had any duty to protect us from their greed. There was one entity that did — our government.“

This is true. This is also where the real crime occurred. Ms. McLean fails to ask (much less answer) the all important question here -- Why didn’t the government do its job? All you have to do is look at the last 30 years to see the answer. It’s as plain as day.

” In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.“

Ronald Reagan
January 20, 1981


Government failed because Reaganism wanted it to fail. I have no doubt that Ronald Reagan believed deeply about limiting Government’s role. Just as I have no doubts about the parties that financed the message. Who would these people be? The Grover Norquists of the world. The Richard Mellon Scaifes. The message was bought and paid for by people like Lloyd Blankfein. Families like the Waltons. And the Coors.

It is sold to you in their advertising, the research papers they finance, the op-ed pieces and their think tanks. These are the people that write the big checks for campaign contributions and the political ads. Government is not the solution (except when they need a bailout), private industry can do it better. Their private industry. A limit on their continued power -- the inheritance tax -- becomes the “death tax”. And you -- John Q. Public -- “buy it” because they can afford the best to sell you the message.

The world’s largest corporation -- Wal-mart -- doesn’t have a single union. But unions are legal -- how can this be? It’s easy. They “sold” you -- John Q. Public -- on the idea. No unions means cheap prices. It’s a good thing they have cheap prices seeing as your wages -- John Q. Public -- are declining. That’s what happens when no one is fighting for the people doing the work. The workers get paid less. That is what happens when labor laws aren’t enforced. That is what happens when your government’s power is twisted, gutted and/or appropriated for private use. Workers get less.

They “cut the red tape” (otherwise known as the rules and regulations that keep you safe on the job), cut taxes (on the wealthy), eliminated waste (half of the inspections keeping your food safe) and made government more efficient (by installing people that hated government as much as they hate it in positions of power). It’s a funny thing. Government doesn’t work very well when it’s run by people intent on destroying it.

It’s easier to steal your money if they eliminate the bank guards and bribe the managers.

The real villains of this financial crisis? They’re the same as the villains in last big financial crisis -- the Great Depression. So far, the only difference between the Great Depression and the Great Recession is the bailout. And in case it hasn’t dawned on you yet -- “they” got bailed out. And you paid for it.

Don Brown
April 27, 2010

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