08 December 2011

Harsanyi Misses It


In Teddy Roosevelt's era, President Barack Obama explained to the nation this week, "some people thought massive inequality and exploitation was just the price of progress. ... But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can."
And he's right. Even today there are people who believe they should have free license to take whatever they want from whomever they can. They're called Democrats.
Yet the president, uniter of a fractured nation, the mighty slayer of infinite straw men, claims that some Americans "rightly" suppose that the economy is rigged against their best interests in a nation awash in breathtaking greed, massive inequality and exploitation. Or I should say, he's trying to convince us that it's the case.

What is it with conservatives and their apparent inability to criticize businesses?  Look, the existence of a business and the operation thereof does not prove that said business is operating in the free market for the very simple fact that businesses can operate in non-free markets.  Indeed, that’s been the norm of history.  Beyond that, why are conservatives apparently allergic to blaming businesses for any of the current market maladies?  People can do wrong, even businessmen.  That’s certainly been the case over the last couple of years.

Anyhow, the easily observed facts of the matter are these:  a) most of the major banks have committed massive amounts of fraud over the past 6+ years, b) the government has failed to prosecute the banks for their fraud, c) and the government decided to bail out the banks instead of prosecuting them for their wrongdoing.  Unless you are incapable of using English correctly, what I’ve just described is not the free market, or even capitalism; it is corporatism, wherein the government enacts policies that favors certain businesses, usually at the expense of other businesses, and definitely at the expense of taxpayers.  As such, the events of the last 6+ years can hardly be laid at the feet of the free market because what existed was barely a market and it certainly wasn’t free.

Of course, Obama’s class warfare language rings a little hollow.  Who was it that decided to not jail any of the banksters that robbed people blind?  Who is it that continues to follow this decision?  I’ll give you a hint:  His name starts with an Eric and ends with a Holder.  That’s right, the Attorney General, who Obama selected, has refused to do his duty.  Citizens’ property rights have been ignored and trampled on by banks, and Holder has refused to anything about it.*  And let’s not forget about Geithner, either.  He’s the secretary of the treasury, which oversees FinCEN, which just might happen to be interested in investment fraud.

So, when all is said and done, both Obama and Harsanyi are each half-right.  Obama is right for blaming the banksters for what happened and Harsanyi is right to blame the Democrats—though it should be noted that the Republicans are equally deserving of blame.  This is too big a heist to be committed by either banksters or politicians alone.  To get away with this much loot requires that the both parties help each other, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.  Therefore, let us place the blame where it belongs:  On the soulless and unprincipled politicians who looked the other way when evil occurred then bailed out those who engaged in it and on the greedy corpulent banksters who were not content to actually earn their money but instead decided to steal it.  May they one day rot in jail for their crimes.

* Either Obama approves of this (which means that he’s evil), he disapproves of this (which means that he’s impotent to do anything about it), or he does care about it (which means that he’s stupid or ignorant).

No comments:

Post a Comment