Virtual Voices

Government preservest me from trouble

Economy

The major cause of the current financial mess is perverse policy. It is undeniable that the national (and global) economy would have been in much better shape had there been more transparency in the financial sector. But the collapse of the real estate market that spilled over to other sectors is not a result of the deregulatory acts of Clinton and Bush. Stricter oversight may have mitigated some of the consequences, but it would not have prevented the bust because the artificial boom was a bastard child of a government-sponsored scheme to make credit cheaper and more accessible than market conditions dictated.

Bureaucracies have a vested interest in producing economic crises. Just as the shareholders in the military industry grow wealthier when a war breaks out, the "shareholders" in the government agencies grow more powerful with each recession. When the downturn is especially sharp as was the case of 2008, the fearful populace is eager to rally behind anyone who promises protection against the greedy capitalists. It's an easy way out to develop a victim mentality, to blame others for your own mistakes, and to ask for benevolent bureaucratic regulation of market exchanges. But the price we pay for a government pacifier, a diaper, and a lullaby may be too high.

As a big fan of Bulgarian Football Club Levski I put all my money in the bank that sponsored my team in the early 1990s. The bank collapsed but I did not blame my government or my team. I sucked it up and learned a valuable lesson---don't keep all your eggs in one basket. At that time my father's modest retirement funds disappeared in a financial pyramid. He also learned his lesson. Most Bulgarians did. And if Americans believe they are exceptional and should be protected from everything by their government, they'd better hear Turgot:

"Thus, with obvious injustice, commerce and consequently the nation are charged with a heavy burden to save a few idle people the trouble of instructing themselves or of making inquiries to avoid being cheated. To suppose all consumers to be dupes, and all merchants and manufacturers to be cheats, has the effects of authorizing them to be so, and of degrading all the working members of the community."

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Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.

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