Monday, September 22, 2008


What Would Ayn Rand Have Done?
From Time/CNN, 9/19/08

I know it's not as warm and spiritually fulfilling as the WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? bumper stickers, but I think it's a really good question, especially in today's social and political climate.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of thinking about living my life in a "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" fashion , and think the world would be a better place if more individuals thought in the terms of The Golden Rule. That's a rule for the individual, though, not for the Government.

The Government's job is to protect my life, my liberty, and my property from invaders, both of the foreign and domestic variety. Someone breaking into my house? I want the police to show up and arrest him - assuming I didn't exercise my 2nd amendment right before calling 911. Should Canada decide it's a good idea to march south in order to seize our excellent health care facilities, I'd expect the US armed forces to fend them off at the border. (Sorry. Had to clean up the coffee I snorted towards the monitor at this thought.) If a bank or investment institution lies to my grandfather about the securities backing his accounts, I want the weasels to either make it right through restitution, or go to jail.

That's it. That's all I want my government to do. I do not want the government to seize a portion of my income to fund the bailout of mortgage backed securities. That job is for the individual corporations to handle, while being accountable to stockholders and customers.

I do not want government wasting my time, tax dollars and patience to come up with bridge loans for struggling corporations. Not even if, as I've heard pointed out in several interviews this last week, the government stands to make money on the deal as the assets are sold off. That's not quite accurate. I should have said Especially if... as the government is not supposed to be a profitable enterprise. The only money making the government is allowed is the minting of currency, and even that it's been doing to excess lately.

If regulatory agencies set up the "guidelines" under which all these failing companies have been operating, how exactly are these same bureaucrats qualified to fix the even bigger problems we have now? They take over more of the operations and asset management, all in the name of the "public good". I'm not that far into my stack of economic books, but I'm pretty sure public (government) ownership of industry is called Socialism. And the government management of ostensibly privately held companies? That's Nationalism.

The Fed and Treasury are taking the step of removing from power the company heads who were in charge during the plunge into the current mess. As more companies approach the government for help, and from industries other than banking, who is going to pull the plug on Paulson and Bernanke for their gross mismanagement?

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