A new Pew Report tells us that Americans think that the rich got the biggest benefits — government handouts — after the collapse of financial markets in 2008. That’s my perception, too.
The banker class — including, perhaps focusing on, financial intermediaries on Wall Street — sure made out like the proverbial banditti, many of whom had their fortunes handed back to them after they lost billions and billions in 2008 and 2009.
Other programs bailed out Big Auto, to the advantage of stockholders and managers and union workers, but not to the discernible advantage of consumers or creditors or the bulk of non-union workers.
And yet, consider the extent to which government intervention in the labor market — including tax breaks, mortgage re-deals, and extended unemployment insurance — “helped” middle class and lower middle class workers and families. These programs had huge consequences, leading hordes to forego (hard-to-find) paid work for (comparatively easy-to-find) paid inactivity.
Americans are split on the lesson to be drawn from what they perceive as “scant signs of recovery” and government’s apparent lack of interest in “helping the poor”:
Although Americans were worried about the economic system, they remain starkly divided over federal regulations to control it. Nearly half thought that government regulation of markets did not go far enough, while almost as many said government regulation had already gone too far.
I’m in the latter camp. Government as Big Brother Bailout for businesses and families and individuals seems to just scuttle the necessary reshuffle our economy needs.
We don’t need more of the wrong response. We need less.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.