But if the government directly controls major financial institutions, that would give the new administration extraordinary leverage over the national economy. Suppose the new CEO of AIG decided he didn't want to insure assets of companies whose executives make unseemly multiples of the national median income? There are all kinds of crazy things you could do. And of course not all of them woul dbe good ideas. But some of them would! And the smart folks on our side need to be figuring out which ones they are. It seems doubtful to me that a progressive administration would ever be able to get away with this much nationalizing of everything, but what's done is done and I think it creates a real opportunity for "socially conscious insurance underwriting" or whatever you care to call it.
You see, with state control of private industry, you have no volatility, and those becoming fabulously powerful do it out of love for the worker and have modest salaries. You never heard about recessions or financial panics in Russia, even in the 1930's when millions of Americans were out of work while every Russian was occupied in some way. Further, just think about how awesome the world would be if disinterested smart people could make all the decisions! Regular people are so dumb. I don't see how it could go wrong.
Yes, that guy is an idiot. You have to be pretty ignorant of history to think it's a good thing for the government to run any business -- except perhaps on a temporary basis. The only issue here was if it was going to be administered by the courts in bankruptcy or by Treasury/Federal Reserve. In that situation, it's best to keep it away from the lawyers.
But there's no monopoly on idiocy on the left or right. Leftwing idiots would abuse business; rightwing idiots would give the government discretion in thinks like torture and warrantless searches.
"The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things--war and hunger and date rape--liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things. . . . It´s a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don´t have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal." -- P.J. O'Rourke
And why not one more, although I forgot the author:
"Need" now means wanting someone else's money. "Greed" means wanting to keep your own. "Compassion" is when a politician arranges the transfer.
Matt has a degree in philosophy from Harvard. It's hard to escape the notion that someone got cheated. Matt got cheated out of a true education or Harvard got cheated out of a degree.
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