Monday, March 02, 2009

Government: Corporate America's Scapegoat

A recently published book "Meltdown: A Free Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, The Economy Tanked, and Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse" by Thomas Woods claims the following:

"...the current crisis was caused not by the free market but by the government's intervention in the market."

Having been professionally involved in local government for over 30 years, I claim that the current crisis was caused by corporate America's intervention in government.

The hierarchy of government, whether it be the City Council or Federal Legislature, the Mayor or the President, the City Manager or the Chief of Staff typically get their jobs by way of the most influential powers within their particular jurisdiction, whether it be city or nation. They are all influenced by or beholden to those who they perceive brought them into power and sustain their power.

It is no secret that in this nation, corporate America is America. Corporate America has the resources to do the lobbying, the expertise to critique and redraft proposed legislation, the influence to get its' way. And "its' way" is not always best for America as the current state of affairs starkly and painfully reveal.

The review of "Meltdown" goes further, claiming "busy-body bureaucrats [were allowed] to pull the strings on our financial sectors and the value of the very money we use." It is more accurate to claim that "busy-body" corporate interest lobbyists "pulled the strings" of the bureaucrats to craft policies that favored their greedy and loose business practices. It is very likely that the so-called "busy-body" bureaucrats did not always want to go along with the string pulling and policy manipulation of corporate interests. These bureaucrats do have bosses who are typically politically motivated or in various ways influenced or coerced to achieve certain policy objectives the "bureaucrats" did not believe best.

So, with the combination of corporate lobbyists "advising" the bureaucrats and the bureacrats bosses reinforcing the "advice" of the corporate lobbyists, what we get is the preferred corporate agenda translated into public policy via our political process. The bureaucrats are merely pawns.

Scapegoating the "bureaucrats" is not the answer. Strengthening public disclosure, doing a better job at balancing public interests and corporate influence in government (now that's a challenge!), and looking past the hype promoted by corporate interests will give better results.

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