Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How To Discourage Government Intervention

I'll give Obama this: his administration is quickly curing corporate America of its desire for public assistance. In the aftermath of the bank bailout and the auto industry bailout the lesson is quite plain: take government money and you'll never have control of your organization again.

What most of these companies probably didn't realize is that with government money comes government tactics. Reality, facts, and business acumen have nothing to do with government. Once public money is involved the government can at any time stir up public outrage over standard business practices and bludgeon you into submission.

The law has nothing to do with it. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recently admitted on Glenn Beck's television show, the AIG bonuses were not against the law. The closest he could get was "against public policy...and it is unsanctioned by law."

Get that? AIG should not have done what it did because it was not approved by law. Let's ignore the fact that, thanks to Sen. Dodd, it was approved by law. They are saying that the moment a company takes public funds it should not be allowed to do anything unless it is approved by law. In short, if you take taxpayer funds the government now controls you.

In fact, in asking GM CEO Waggoner to step down, President Obama is finally being honest. The only way he could be more honest about this is if he were to step into Waggoner's position himself. If you take federal funds you are now under government control and subject to the Administration's capriciousness. If Obama wants to show America he's tough, well, it sucks to be you. Because you're in the government now, and the government doesn't run on reality, but on the illusion of reality.

So let that be a lesson to corporate America. The ideal relationship between government and business can be best summarized by an exchange in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" when someone asks the rabbi if there is a proper blessing for the czar. The rabbi replies "If course", and then demonstrates: "May God bless and keep the czar...far away from us!"

1 comment:

Dan Stratton said...

Amen. Keep the czar far away from us. You know it is bad when Europe thinks he is too liberal.