Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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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