Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fulfilling The Promises

A few stories in the news this weekend in the Toledo Blade caught my intention because of the common thread. Let me share them with you. The first was our Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, telling us that the answer to the current financial mess is more Federal regulations and regulators. He tells us that more rules and people to enforce them are required in the hedge fund industry (you know, where John Edwards made all of his cash)

Now it seems to me that we were originally told that the problem was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with AIG as the puppeteer. We were told that they were responsible for the imminent collapse of the banking industry, and that they were under what can obviously be called in retrospect failed Congressional oversight. But I guess that all investment is the same and all of it needs more government regulation and protection, so perhaps we should set aside all that we have been previously told and simply give the man what he wants. 

The next story is about Congress attempting to put the tobacco industry under the Food and Drug Administration as a regulatory body. While some of the claims made in this editorial are suspect. What is not in question is the desire to expand the government's level of bureaucracy and role in regulatory function. The FDA, already claiming to be understaffed for its current tasks, would be asked to assume control of marketing, product review, and labeling of a huge industry. There is little doubt that in order to do so their size, regulatory power, and budget would have to see dramatic expansion. 

The third was about the labor department failures under the Bush Administration to properly process claims or to protect workers. Even assuming that the Blade is correct in its assertions (which I do not dispute, as they came from a GAO investigation), I find it most likely that the government bureaucracy is simply functioning as it always done, at the lowest level that keeps its workers in their jobs and out of jail. Hearings are going to be held however, with the undoubted result that more regulations, bureaucrats, and money will be needed to solve this problem. 

The common thread here of course, is the expansion of the size and control of bureaucracy. In spite of the "government gone wild" spending habits we are seeing from the new Administration, the only answer anyone seems to be coming up with is more spending. In spite of the continued nibbling away of personal choice and freedom in this country, the only answer appears to be more government regulation and restriction. 

Two promises seem to have been kept in all of this however. The first is that of Rahm Emmanuel, the president's chief of staff, who is fulfilling his promise by not letting "a serious crisis go to waste". The second is that made by President Obama to create new jobs. That both are doing so by creating an even more expensive, massive, and intrusive bureaucracy and that all of jobs are government jobs should perhaps not be held against them.

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