America’s bailout economy started many administrations ago, but really went Big Time under President George W. Bush . . . and then went Enormity Time with President Barack Obama.
The Washington Post provides the latest in bailout news by noting an inter-departmental squabble:
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury approved all 18 requests it received last year to raise pay for executives at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more; the largest raise was $1 million.
Though this is all quite scandalous, don’t expect policies to change or heads to roll — barring a joint Tea Party/Occupy uprising. The nature of the modern “regulatory” state is clear: government bureaus are quickly captured by the industries they aim to regulate. It’s an old story. The revolving door between business and bureaucracy is as well-established as between journalism and politics.
So why do we have bailouts?
- They show that politicians are “doing something”;
- They mimic the welfare state logic of “helping the poor” (if, with caustic irony, by stuffing the wallets of the rich);
- They aggrandize the showy machinations of the legislative and executive branches at the expense of the branch of government designed to handle massive business failure, the courts.
Perhaps Americans shouldn’t have voted in either an MBA grad (Bush) or a constitutional lawyer (Obama). Maybe what the country needs is a bankruptcy lawyer in the White House.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.