Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Blaming the government...
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Blaming the government for everything

Stephen Tuttle - September 13th, 2010
Blaming the government for everything
Whose fault is this, anyway?
If we listen to some folks, like those who recently gathered in
Washington, D.C., to celebrate Glenn Beck’s evangelical coming out
party, it’s the government that has caused this entire economic mess.
They created it and we need to cut them down to size in order to fix
what they have wrought. Less government, lower taxes, then everything
will be all right, again. (Never mind that at the federal level more
than 95% of us are already paying lower taxes.)
It’s an easy political position. The nameless, faceless “government”
at all levels, makes a very large and inviting target. But we have to
take a stroll down Memory Loss Lane to come to the conclusion the
government created the financial mess we’re in today.
If we go all the way back to the tech bubble that burst in the late
’90s, the harbinger of unpleasantness to come, we can see the
difficulty in blaming everything on the government.
• It wasn’t the feds or local governments who convinced stock traders
to keep pushing up the value of tech companies during a wild buying
spree. It wasn’t the government that forced market analysts, who were
making fortunes in the process, to convince us some of those companies
would just keep increasing in value through the stratosphere. It
wasn’t the government that decided companies producing a few million
bucks in net revenues should be worth a billion or more on paper. It
was wild-eyed greed and a marketplace more concerned about tomorrow’s
balance-sheet then long-term sustainability.
• Nor was it the government that forced banks and other lenders to
keep handing out money to potential home buyers who had not the
remotest chance of making their mortgage payments.
The government didn’t tell us our homes would keep increasing in value
in perpetuity, create the market for home-buying speculators and
flippers, invent the dreaded adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) or
convince people to fudge their incomes and borrow money for a home
they couldn’t afford in the first place and had no chance at all of
making monstrous balloon payments. That was the lenders and buyers
who concocted that disaster. The only surprise was our feigned shock
when it turned out the grossly overpriced little house we bought did
not turn into the equivalent of a lottery win.
• And it certainly wasn’t the government that asked AIG or Merrill
Lynch to create bizarre new financial instruments based on sub-prime
mortgages, avoid registering them as either insurance or securities
and then peddle them in an orgy of profit-taking.
Nor did the government encourage them to try and cover up their
shenanigans as the housing bubble showed signs of bursting. It was
Wall Street greed that managed that catastrophe.
• It wasn’t the government that forced the American auto manufacturers
and their unions to keep increasing wages and benefits to levels any
intelligent 6th grader could have determined would not pencil-out down
the road.
Nor did the government tell GM or Chrysler to keep making those giant,
gas-guzzling SUVs to maximize per-unit profits while ignoring the
foreign manufacturers looming in their rear-view mirrors with their
reasonably-priced, small, safe, fuel-efficient cars. Management and
union leadership accomplished that stupidity all by themselves.
If there is government fault in this it is that they didn’t do nearly
enough to stop or at least slow down the apocalyptic collapse of these
markets. Congress abdicated their responsibility to fairly regulate
the markets, and government bureaucrats, never vigilant, did little to
warn us of the looming collapses.
Had the government never intervened, as many free marketers now
suggest, the current economic mess would be cataclysmic. AIG would
have collapsed and the more than 200 smaller companies holding AIG
paper would have been sucked down with them. As bad as the market
crash was, it would have been unimaginably worse. Both George W. Bush
and his staff and Barack Obama and his staff understood that as
unappetizing as it was, saving Wall Street was necessary.
Though the government was, as usual, a day late, had General Motors
and Chrysler been allowed to fail, millions more would be out of work.
Small towns across the Midwest that depend on auto-related businesses
would be on the verge of shuttering Main Street. A generation of
children would be wondering what happened to their dreams of college.
The government can be legitimately blamed for much. The feds are
moribund in red tape and bloat, a monolithic disaster-in-waiting
unable to anticipate the obvious or rapidly respond to much of
anything. Every department needs a good house-cleaning and
streamlining. But they did not cause the current economic challenges,
they simply watched as they happened.
Michigan, with its onerous business taxes and labyrinthine regulatory
system, might even be worse. But as bad as it is, the state government
did not wreck the auto industry; they did that all by themselves.
The problem is not just too much government. It’s too little good
government that knows when to intervene and protect the public and
when to stay out of the way and let capitalism flourish.

 
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