Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who's guarding the guards?

One of the biggest rationales for big government is that we Americans need somebody guarding us against corporate malfeasance -- or even perfectly moral actions such as setting prices. But, as throughout history, government is replete with criminal behavior.

Note the sweetheart deals that both Sen. Dodd and Postmaster General John Potter secretly received from Countrywide on loans. Note the criminal actions of Barney Frank concerning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Note the enormous campaign contributions to every single politician in America. Note the gross intimidation of companies by former NY Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Note the legions of stories in recent decades of handout bribes to regulators and inspectors in the airline industry, the meat-production industry, the agricultural industry and virtually every other industry in America.

Imagine if GM or Proctor & Gamble or Bed Bath & Beyond gave huge contributions to the wonderfully objective Consumer Reports. Imagine the uproar and loss of integrity to CR, which, by the way, is the most-effective private "regulator" and overseer of corporate America in the history of this country, IMO. I get a hundred times more relevant info on products and practices of companies from CR than all of the regulators in American history combined -- and all for less than $25 a year.

So where are the guards guarding the guards who are guarding the guards of the guards? Or, more important, why do we NEED such government guards in the first place?

We don't. We can do the research (via our own primary research or publications such as CR's) ourselves. Morever, it is immoral for government to oversee private organizations. It presumes guilt in a country that was founded upon the presumption of innocence, and it places government in a role of intrusive, coercive agent, when its job is, instead, supposed to be one of reacting to coercion or the explicit intent of coercion or fraud.

Let's fire the "guards" and become our own guardians. We are, after all, adults.

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