Authored by William Robert Barber
I have been, for the last week, on business in Ireland. Today after frisking about with the Irish people, gazing and stomping on their generously forested land of gently rolling green country-side, driving through narrow village streets dotted along the hill and dale; enjoying many a stimulating discussion intertwined with good food and ale. I am heading home.
Interestingly, the economic concerns of Ireland and indeed all of Euro-land, are about the same as they are in America. Everyone I met and every publication I scanned emphasized the painfully high unemployment, the lack of bank-funding, dismal economic growth, and the sad, bitter effects of the almost complete devastation of real-estate value.
Entertainingly, the blame-story is similar to what we Americans channel. When the marketplace puts money or even the illusion of putting money in peoples’ pocket, everyone is unquestioning and quite pleased. However, when money has stopped flowing in and in fact starts to flow out or not flow at all, well, fault is seeking a dance partner. The people negatively affected point the finger at any and all except their own blindly excessive spending indulgences. The Irish – just like us Americans – readily exclude their most recent willy-nilly mindless behavioral addiction to a belief and practice in nonrecourse consumption.
When specifying the present American financial and real estate downturn I suggest that one should review the fuel that created the economic boom-cheap money and debt. The collateral was a commodity known as real estate and equity market trades and holdings. When private enterprise is managing its own risk and the speculator-public accepts their own risk, individually, the winners and losers suffer or gain. But when government and their cohorts public-private unions gets in the middle to install a “fair playing field,” to “protect the worker or the investor,” or enact by law a third-party ideal of fairness, the taxpayer pays excessively for the governing service.
There is an ancient adage that runs parallel to the biblical saying, “God helps those that help themselves,” inclusively, one cannot by edit nullify stupid or criminal behavior nor can government by legislation bind or mandate the practice of good sense and morality.
Of course these well-known adages do not stop the elected from their task of constant governmental interference. This is best evidenced by the government’s insistence on retaining an ambiguous federal tax code, enacting the excessively expensive regulatory dud Sarbanes-Oxley, the retention of duplicating departments and agencies, the persistence of continuing federal policies that bully risk-takers and reward losers. The systematically applied coercive pushing and pulling by several Congresses since the Eisenhower administration has driven private enterprise straight to attorneys, litigation, and bureaucratic discombobulating.
The liberal progressives in line with congress’ Barney Frank have for years forced private banks in the direction of mal-ginned imprudent lending practices. For the elected, evidence to the contrary of their ideal, be damned; the policy of government in their eye’s is as a matter of policy, to taxpayer finance a seemingly never-ending series of perverse societal contrivances that have, in the present, after decades of persistence, finally, impaired the nation.
When one combines such governmental action with a popular consumption frenzy stirred and prompted at every opportunity by a political leadership motivated solely to attain or maintain public office; the tangibles of sensible and pragmatic are pushed into the delete file in favor of the intangible and deceptive. These rascals, the elected Noblesse oblige, and their allies such as public employee unions, the New York Times, National Broadcasting Company, all liberal progressives, and labor lobbyist in general, are consistently remissive of applying prudent real-world principles to the issues and concerns of governing the peoples’ money. Either consciously purposeful, or permissively naïve, political leaders have, for many years, mislead the voting public as to the nation’s economic disposition. Experience has documented, the elected class will lie, cheat, and steal to and from their constituencies.
When reviewing the governing of particularly democratic-republics one is inclined to believe in the governing tenants of righteousness, particularly in these countries the predominately sane champions the irrational. Corruptive behavior in and by government is assumed to be spotty at best. After all, one is led to believe that in democratic-republics reason dominates the unreasonable, but low and behold, instead we find the non-sensible overwhelming good sense.
Upon surveying the historically documented factual pieces and parts that lead to the 2008 recession one could conclude that it was if the world of the otherwise prudent and rational was managed from the Emerald City by the hedge fund wonk, The Wizard-of-Oz.
Bloated property assessment permitted the government to tax and squanders more of the people’s money; equity pricing egregiously mismatch derivative to market value, and the wholesale of government policies explicitly designed to give away other people’s money. Could there have been another outcome? If governments’ print money, if fiat currency is forced into acceptance, if tax revenue lags behind governmental distribution of that revenue how could there actually be a functioning economy? No one with enough political juice considered the cost verses the benefit; everyone was chasing the butterflies, enjoying the rainbows, and receiving their pot of gold.
Captivatingly, the financially affected, withstanding the history of government stupidity, the government’s culpability in a total lack of sensible, rational, prudent, and reasonable governess, these persons, still contemplate government as the quick and easy solution. I am particularly astounded by the incredulous insistence of not just the financially affected populous but institutional leaders from bankers to insurance executives, economist, and broker-dealers they all create a novel wherein they write-in, admittedly, in degrees of measurable variance, governmental agencies and departments as the solution-protagonist.
The solution to our economic malaise is simple. Learn to find the bait, fancy the bait onto the hook, choose a line and pole; discover a place where fish are to be found, throw the baited line into the water, catch the fish, prepare the fish, cook the fish and eat it. Now all of this is to be done without paying a licensing fee, and entrance fee, a poundage tax, governmentally assisted learning, or some federal agency telling you how to eat the fish.
In other words, government shut up, do less, and stay out of my business…