As John Stossel writes, “Government Sets Us Up for the Next Bust”:
We are in the mess we’re in precisely because of earlier government interference. Easy mortgage terms and guarantees contrived a housing boom and irresponsible lending that could not be sustained. The consequences have shaken the foundation of the financial industry. But instead of freeing the market and allowing the errors to be corrected, the government is seducing the economy into a whole new set of errors. That will lead to the next bust.
“But doesn’t the government have to act?” people ask. “We can’t just let financial companies fail!”
I say, Why not?
Jim Rogers, the successful investor and author, puts it well: “Why are we bailing out Citibank? Why are 300 million Americans having to pay for Citibank’s mistakes? The way the system is supposed to work [is this]: People fail. And then the competent people take over the assets from the failed people, and then you start again with a new stronger base. What we’re doing this time is … taking the assets from the competent people, giving them to the incompetent people, and saying, “OK, now you can compete with the competent people.” So everybody’s weakened: The whole nation is weakened, the whole economy is weakened. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”
Bill Gates must have whiplash after what he went through in the late 1990s. Government and big business have devolved into quite a dysfunctional relationship–when government isn’t seeking to punish businesses (marketing consultant Dan Kennedy believes he’s spotted the next soft target for the same sort of raping the tobacco industry received in the mid-1990s), its representatives are literally telling another that bankruptcy is “not an option.”
As Stossel writes, why the heck not?
Related: “Poll: 61% oppose auto bailout.”