Vail Valley Voices: To regulate or not
Vail, CO, Colorado
The federal government has been establishing new regulations at lightning speed in recent months that impact so many aspects of our lives.
As all this has unfolded, there are two questions that I’ve been asking myself: Do I really want government to be more intrusive? And are our legislators qualified to establish regulations on so many diverse industries and activities of Americans?
Recent legislation and jawboning by the president are reminiscent of Big Brother, the dictator of Oceania in George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” who monitors the behavior of every one of his citizens. It’s a creepy concept that no American should espouse.
Already, the federal government has taken over the auto industry and is a large stockholder of General Motors and Chrysler. Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest banks in the country, as well as numerous smaller banks, are now effectively controlled by government agencies.
The president is trying to orchestrate a federal takeover of health care.
Our government already controls Social Security, which will be bankrupt in a few short decades. And there are numerous proposals on the table that would limit compensation of corporate executives, who traditionally have been accountable only to their stockholders; proscribe the price of drugs; regulate the securities markets; influence the sale of automobiles; decrease the choice of women; increase the already destructive influence of trial attorneys and much more.
(Note: I want to be clear that my comments are directed at all branches of government and both major political parties.)
If you ever start to believe that members of Congress have the mental resources to deal with so many complex issues, watch a congressional committee meeting on CSPAN and listen carefully to the questions posed and the inane speeches made by the members. You will be appalled.
I know, you’re probably saying that the country was “on the brink” of economic Armageddon. It might have been true.
I think the responses of Messrs. Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke to the crisis were extraordinary. They saved the country from a deep economic depression.
On the other hand, Congress’ response to the crisis and toward these courageous men was uninformed and naive. Congress then followed up its investigation with a laundry list of populist regulations that only served to fan the flames of class warfare.
It makes me wonder why any distinguished businessman, scholar or intellectual would agree to work for the government.
Congress has not accepted its culpability for the economic crisis. Moreover, its skill in structuring large projects in recent years has been underwhelming at best. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac greatly contributed to the mortgage debacle in America and are two examples of Congress’s misguided actions.
Also, how can the citizens of this nation depend on their legislators for sound economic policies when they have been frightfully unable to manage their own affairs and scores of the group have been stained by a wide range of economic, ethical and moral scandals?
Don’t get me wrong. America needs to have regulations. But we all must recognize that the marketplace is where most economic issues will be resolved, not on the floors of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Sal Bommarito is a New Yorker who has skied Vail for 20 years. He periodically reports on national issues that affect Vailites. A former investment banker, he has published four novels.