Sunday, March 22, 2009

Totally Clueless

Andy McCarthy over at The Corner:
Is there any evidence, since the government began nationalizing swaths of the economy last autumn, that Washington has a clue about what causes positive corporate performance or about what is in the financial interest of a business enterprise? Yet the more value the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress destroy — their demagoguery and fiscally insane policies eviscerating the very tax base needed to pay for their exploding liabilities — the more control they get.
Why is it that our leaders in Washington and their staffs, are clueless about how wealth is really created? Could it be that they have never worked in private industry?

Consider the number of politicians and bureaucrats who have spent their entire working lives in the not-for-profit sector, including government, academia, unions, and non-profit NGOs. President Obama is a prime example of the leeching class, who make their living off the profits of others: obtaining money by taxation, or grants of tax monies, or donations, or dues.

The Democrats are good at winning elections, for which populist demagoguery is quite useful. It's not so hot as a governing philosophy. Joe Nocera writes in the New York Times:

What the country really needs right now from Congress is facts instead of rhetoric. Instead of these “raise your hand if you took a private jet to get here” exercises of outraged populism, we need hearings that educate and illuminate. Hearings like the old Watergate hearings. Hearings in which knowledge is accumulated over time, and a record is established. Hearings that might actually help us get out of this crisis. It’s happened before. In 1932, Congress established the Pecora committee, named for its chief counsel, Ferdinand Pecora. It was an intense, two-year inquiry, and its findings — executives shorting their own company’s stock, for instance — shocked the country. It also led to the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission and other investor protections. One person who has been calling for a new Pecora committee is Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, a Republican and key member of the Senate Banking Committee.

“As we restructure our regulatory system, we need to be thorough,” he told me. “We need to understand what caused it. We shouldn’t rush it.”

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday featuring Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Geithner. The hearing has been called to find out only one thing: what did the two men know about the A.I.G. bonuses, and when did they know it?

Is that Nero I hear fiddling?
(H/T Mark Steyn)