Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Getting Government Out of the Way

The Tea Baggers and the general populace in this most Republican of districts keep saying things would be fine if we got government out of the way. How well does that work out here in the real world?

Government got out of the way of the airline industry, and flying has become an ordeal. We lost Eastern and Pan Am, and we lost airline meals. Yes, they were the butt of many jokes, but speaking from experience, they were better than the bags of pretzels we get now. We also get regular reports of whistles being blown on safety violations.

Government got out of the way of the Savings and Loan industry, and the taxpayers were on the hook for 200 billion dollars. It was during this scandal that I first heard the phrase, "too big to fail," which should actually be "too big to BE ALLOWED to fail."

Government got out of the way of the energy industry and Enron devastated California before imploding. Of course, evil always collapses under its own weight. Case in point: the former Soviet Union. Back to Enron, a lot of people got hurt in that.

Government got out of the way of the banking and insurance industries, and we wound up in the worst recession since the one brought on by the Reagan tax cuts. We are out a trillion dollars so far for that idiocy. Again, as in the S&L's, the profits are privatized and the risks are socialized. Taxpayers absorb the risk, while the fat cats pocket the profits.

Government got out of the way of mine safety, and last month another 29 miners died because of it. I don't want to be standing near either a government regulator or a mine owner on Judgment Day.

Now, government got out of the way of offshore drilling, and the Gulf of Mexico is about to become one big oil slick. BP didn't want to spend $500 thousand to install the safety equipment that would have prevented this spill, and now they are on the hook for $500 million so far in cleaning up the mess. That is, if they actually pay for it. If the Congressmen they own don't stick the American taxpayers with the bill again.

So tell me again how great it would be if government got out of the way?