Monday, April 26, 2010

Should the Feds regulate Wall Street and the Banks? You mean - they don't already??

Financial Reform’s Day of Reckoning Might Not Be - The Gaggle Blog - "But there is general agreement on Wall Street as a villain. In a Gallup poll last week, when people were asked if the federal government should regulate large financial institutions, 46 percent were in favor while 43 percent opposed. But when “large financial institutions' was replaced with “Wall Street banks,” the spread jumped to 50 to 36.

"Most lawmakers agree that Wall Street needs to be reigned in after its snafu in 2007 and 2008."

When you think of the inbuilt prejudices of a given media outlet, think of the above example: All coverage of the "finance reform bill" in 2010 revolves around "if the fed... should regulate large financial institutions" -- as if they are not already heavily regulated. And "Wall Street needs to be reigned in after its snafu..." as if they were unregulated, unmonitored, unwatched by our regulatory solons. ('reined' not 'reigned' ...)

This is one big reason why the path is always from problem to government law and regulation, to more problems, to more government regs, to more problems, to more government regs, and on and on endlessly -- unless the entity involved simply ceases operation. At NO POINT, EVER, are the efficacy of previous regulations considered; is the regulatory regime questioned; is the underlying conceit -- that bureaucratic government regulators are capable, over the long haul (or the intermediate haul) of achieving the results desired -- anything other than simply assumed. And at NO POINT, EVER, is the possibility even considered that there might be other approaches, alternatives to more of the same ineffectual laws and porn-watching bureaucrats, that might be more effective at achieving whatever your goal might be.

Which is why libertarians trying to be heard in the marketplace of ideas are so frustrated. It always goes without saying -- literally without saying -- that the question is "What laws and regulations can the government add to solve this problem?" -- The large question is never posed: "What arrangement of markets and laws and information might improve this situation, or lessen negative impacts, over the long run, and while minimally damaging the marketplace, our freedoms, and our prosperity?" We dive immediately down to the level of the government being the only "practical" solution to any problem you can name. Period.

And this despite government failure after government failure. Libertarians are widely believed to be entirely impractical in their ideas; the great irony of our age is that the practical people -- politically practical, of course, for that is all they mean by this -- are the ones proposing the blatantly impractical solutions -- again! and again!

As the old Washington joke goes: The only problem with pragmatism is -- it doesn't work.

The only thing impractical about Libertarian ideas is that, since they represent real reform, they are always resisted to the death by politicians, their bureaucrats, and the 'special interests' -- that is, those don't want to lose out on the benefits they get from things are they are. This is a serious issue -- the practical question of how you get past this powerful opposition is very difficult to answer. And government steadily increases the number of us who are in that "special interest" group -- we get tax breaks, rebates, refunds, special highway lanes, access to things, deductions, and outright payouts, as well as jobs, subsidies, and government projects. And medical care and retirement money. Anything you try to "reform" in reality (instead of merely politically) is going to arouse a fury among those who will lose out on something. Which is, as much as the politicians can possibly make it, everybody. This is deliberate, because it does make real reform opportunities "impractical" beyond the question of whether the reforms themselves would reform anything.

But when you get tired of being tricked and traduced and made a fool of again, Mr and Mrs Voter -- contact your nearest Libertarian. With luck you might find a few ideas that could offer ways out of the endless crises. Thought you';d have to rise above your own personal special interests in order to see it.

Or you could just do what you always do -- vote for the Lesser of Two Evils. Again. Now that's a practical solution!

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