–Vincent de Gournay
We starry-eyed liberals are told, again and again, that laissez-faire capitalism is really the ideal for all the people of the world. Republicans and libertarians alike are quick to complain that any regulation, restriction, or tax on business will inevitably throw sand in the gears of the great capitalist machine, that runs best when it is allowed to run on forever, with nobody stopping to make sure the parts aren’t grinding together, and especially no checking that the machine is grinding some of its parts to bits.
True laissez-faire capitalism, of course, has never really been tried. Not because the evil workers rebel (though in extreme cases, that has been known to happen), but because at some point, the machine, like all machines, does inevitably break down. And the moment it does, those people who have been getting the most benefit from that machine immediately spring to their feet, and scream for someone, anyone, to fix it, damn the cost. And so the government — for who else is large enough to do it? — rises from its torpor long enough to lubricate the upper portions of the machine with vast sums of money, which, we are assured, will slowly make its way to the smoldering wreckage at the bottom of the machine…eventually.
The sheer chutzpah of the request should drive those of us deeper in the bowels of the machine to fury. The government could not be roused to lubricate the bottom of the machine, of course — not even as parts of it broke down from lack of maintenance. But the upper tier squeals, and suddenly three-quarters of a trillion dollars is loosed, with no accountability, no requital, not even an apology to the rest of us.
If that ever was a doubt that the rich just don’t believe themselves answerable to the same rules as the rest of us, let this put it forever to rest:
Frank, who has been in phone discussions with Paulson, said the secretary appeared receptive to adding some foreclosure-relief language. The second Democratic proposal — to impose compensation limits on Wall Street executives — is meeting more resistance.
“Hank says it’s a poison pill,” Frank said. “I say I don’t think it’s very patriotic for someone to not give up his golden parachute when we’re trying to save the markets.”
Yes, that’s right: asking that those who got our nation into this $700,000,000,000.00 (and counting) hole can’t be bothered to give up some of their millions — millions that, in case you didn’t notice, ultimately were swindled from you and me, the average taxpayer.
If a con artist swindles you out of $2,300, you well may go to the police. Certainly, you’d be angry at them and demand repayment. And rightly so. These people swindled $2,300 out of every woman, man, and child in America. And they think it’s a “poison pill” to ask them to agree to some limits on what they can swindle in the future?
When a family goes on unemployment or welfate, the right excoriates them, calls them bums, tells them to “get a job,” to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps, complains bitterly about the poor “stealing our money.” But in the end, the poor just want some help keeping a roof over their heads until they can get a better job, or get through school. A few thousand dollars and they’re set; heck, if they get some training and child care, they might just end up making money for the government in the long run.
A multimillionaire hedge fund manager of middling talent? He or she took those millions straight out of the government coffers. And now, when the Democrats suggest we shouldn’t let that happen again, we’re told that somehow, we’re at fault. Somehow, we’re expecting too much. The poor aren’t entitled to your money — the rich most certainly are.
Enough is enough. My father is fond of saying that he’d rather give to the poor than the rich, because the poor are only going to ask for so much — the rich will just keep on taking long after they need it. I’m with him. It seems to me that if the plutocrats want their banking system saved, they’re going to have to give up something near and dear to their hearts to get it. If they don’t want to part with their money, I don’t see why I should part with mine. And if it brings the financial system down in a smoldering hunk, then maybe we’ll get to see the brilliant innovation of the market that I’m always being told government stifles. We really shouldn’t interfere with the market, should we?
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