We've been awash in news of Ponzi schemes and greedy bankers. As a result, the "free-marekt-is-bad" argument has been trotted out in the usual precincts (The Atlantic magazine website even suggested that the so-called tea party protests held around the country yesterday weren't valid; you just can't criticize gub'ment spending without offering detailed solutions, Andrew Sullivan argued. As if those protesters didn't actually offer suggestions . . . ) Basically, the argument is: Only gub'ment (as I like to say in my best Michigan militia accent) can protect us from those evil greedy banks and corporations who degrade the environment and rob us for their own personal gain.
That argument never made any sense to me. I always thought the lessons of the American Revolution were the opposite. Leave me alone and keep gub'ment as small as possible because gub'ments tend to greedily grab at more and more power. Also, are we to believe that just because a person puts on a gub'ment jersey suddenly he's pure and honest? Suddenly the ugly side of human nature is purged from the brain by the Great Call of Public Service? Ha, obviously not. The New York State pension-fund scandal (in which politicians allegedly received huge payoffs to steer public-employee pension investments to favore financial firms) sure is a stark reminder that gub'ment must be carefully monitored.