Skip to comments.Trust gap will haunt Democrats in November
Posted on 05/10/2010 11:55:39 AM PDT by neverdem
It was a jarring split screen.
On one side of the television, members of Congress were bloviating about the need for financial reform to prevent another crisis.
On the other side of the screen, Greek rioters were finally dispersing in a cloud of tear gas after their firebombs sent world markets skidding.
Down in the lower right corner, the readout on the Dow looked like the altimeter on a nose-diving jet.
How funny that anyone would promise to bring security and predictability to a financial world that can be undone by the protests of some uncivil servants in a little country in the corner of Europe with a gross domestic product about the same size as that of Massachusetts.
Greece, of course, is not the problem. Its economy hasn't mattered much since international trade was measured in amphorae of olive oil.
The problem is the massive debt grinding on the governments of the Western world.
Goldman Sachs and the Bank of China will get theirs, and it's us -- from the truck driver in Thessaloniki to the software engineer in San Jose -- whom they'll be getting it from.
All this debt means that it doesn't take much to set things tumbling. A dip in U.S. home prices or the dishonest bookkeeping of the Hellenic government is enough to cause panic.
The senators on the other side of the split screen from the Greek bomb throwers want you to believe that their plan does something about market volatility.
The Washington Post asked Ted Weisberg, a 40-year veteran of the trading pits, what caused the 1,000-point earthquake on the Dow. His answer was that Congress had enacted so many new trading regulations in recent years that when an actual trading crisis arose, there was no way to hit the brakes.
"I don't know what their rules are. The public doesn't understand. This is another perfect example of the government changing the ground rules, and we end up with unintended consequences," Weisberg said.
Rather than a plan to simplify financial regulations or even strengthen them, President Obama and Congress have settled on the more common political practice of the shakedown.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talked tough until the big financial houses started to come across with donations to prop up his failing re-election campaign. Reid was then happy to let the industry's best friend in Congress, Sen. Chris Dodd, push through another layer of regulations that will produce another round of unintended consequences.
Sorry, Mr. Weisberg.
No wonder that confidence in government has plummeted to an all-time low.
The reaction from our president and others in the governing class to this trust deficit has generally been to prescribe more government.
As the president said about the passage of his new national health program: "We proved we're still a people capable of doing big things."
More accurately, it proved that Washington is still capable of saying big things. The doing part is another matter.
The RAND Corp. told us that rather than holding off premium increases, the president's health program will drive them up 17 percent. The Congressional Budget Office projected that 10 million people will be booted from their employer-based policies. Medicare's chief actuary predicted a $311 billion health spending increase and dramatic cuts to services over the next decade.
Whether you love the idea of government-guaranteed health insurance or hate it, no sensible person expects what's been enacted to work properly.
It is the same for the environment.
We are told that the key to protecting our planet is an intricate government regime for measuring carbon dioxide and then selling the right to emit it.
But as we've seen from our panicky financial markets and from the oil sliming the shoals of the Gulf Coast, the federal government generally does a poor job of regulating markets and the environmental practices of corporations.
Combing the two sounds like a disastrous synergy.
Whether it's finance, health care, the environment, immigration or even the war in Afghanistan, the answer remains the same from Washington -- new layers of bureaucracy and big, complicated solutions.
Obama isn't responsible for every blunder by the bureaucrats inspecting stock trades or oil platforms. We know people fail and systems break down.
But Obama and his party will be held liable for expanding the power of Washington at a time when the government is having so much trouble executing its existing responsibilities.
Reform is hard and often unglamorous work. That's why politicians do so little of it.
Chris Stirewalt is the political editor of the Washington Examiner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greece produces ouzo, retsina, and feta cheese. Most of us can get by without the first two, and feta cheese can be made elsewhere than in Greece.
Glenn Beck put it best: Our Public servants have become our masters.
Democrats got a problem, for the first time since 1994 they have no one else to blame. They still try, but it makes them look even sillier.
“Democrats got a problem, for the first time since 1994 they have no one else to blame. They still try, but it makes them look even sillier. “
Let us hope so.
I imagine a few of them are going to serve jail sentences.