Sunday, September 6, 2009

Economic Liberty and Moral Chains

Men are qualified for economic liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. (With apologies to Edmund Burke)

When I hear Wall Street titans, corporate executives, and their innumerable sycophants in the media and academia protest that the carnage wrought by unchecked greed is in fact the fault of a government which failed to adequately control “animal spirits”, I want to vomit.

Consider the absurdity of such a claim.

(1) Wall Street and corporations are not responsible for self-restraint.
(2) Therefore it is the duty of government and regulators to force them to behave.
(3) Regulators are appointed and approved by politicians.
(4) Politicians gain power via elections.
(5) Elections – especially for national office – are overwhelmingly driven by campaign contributions and the wholesale purchase of media-space (i.e. “free” speech).
(6) Day-to-day governance is powerfully shaped by lobbyists (i.e. more “free” speech).
(7) This “free” speech can best be described as “one dollar equals one vote”.
(8) Wall Street and giant corporations vote the most.

Complicated, eh? How is it possible that such flagrant buck-passing is so prevalent in our national discourse? Follow the money.