Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dems Are Hunting Bulls To Extinction

It seems that the ruling Democrats are marshaling every arms of their power to neuter every expression American national virility--economic, financial, military, and diplomatic.

Here is the latest assault, this time to make sure that we never see another bull market.

[average wall street bonuses]Policies that set the pay for tens of thousands of bank employees nationwide would require approval from the Federal Reserve as part of a far-reaching proposal to rein in risk-taking at financial institutions. The Fed's plan would, for the first time, inject government regulators deep into compensation decisions traditionally reserved for the banks' corporate boards and executives.

Under the proposal, the Fed could reject any compensation policies it believes encourage bank employees -- from chief executives, to traders, to loan officers -- to take too much risk. Bureaucrats wouldn't set the pay of individuals, but would review and, if necessary, amend each bank's salary and bonus policies to make sure they don't create harmful incentives.

The plan under consideration "requires a vote by the central bank's board, but no congressional approval" ("Bankers Face Sweeping Curbs on Pay," Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2009).

Sen. Chris Dodd, that trustworthy steward of the public weal and co-author of the housing collapse, is taking up the task of combining the four banking agencies—the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Comptroller of the Currency—into one superagency. Ever larger and more powerful government agencies always result in greater liberty for citizens and efficiency in government, right? ("Leading Senator Pushes New Plan to Oversee Banks," New York Times, Sept. 19, 2009.

The Democrats are the party of risk aversion. Prosecuting the CIA discourages risk taking by agents for our national security. Discouraging risk taking on Wall Street dampens our general prosperity. Government health insurance is just another step toward removing risk from daily American life generally. This is what Franklin Roosevelt had in mind when he proposed in his Four Freedoms speech (1941) that the federal government should guarantee everyone "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear." Just months before dying in office, in his 1944 State of the Union Address to Congress, he called for "a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed." The first Bill of Rights was inadequate. These rights were to include:

  • "The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education."
 Roosevelt states his purpose in this clearly: "All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being." As FDR saw it, the purpose is government is not to allow for the "pursuit of happiness," as the Founders and the authors of the original Bill of Rights saw it, but to provide "happiness and well-being" itself.

Of course, government has a legitimate, natural, and divinely appointed role in securing those under its care from threats to life, health, and property. But the purpose in this is to secure people in the liberty to live adult lives with all the challenges involving success and failure which that entails.

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