Perhaps it is time for our populace to read the dictionary entry for the word govern, a word which arises from the Latin gubernare; to steer. Implicit in the noun "government" is the action of "governing". And governing involves controlling, guiding, directing and other actions that significantly influence the course of events in the entity being governed - for the positive. We had governors on our aircraft engines, specifically to prevent catastrophic overspeeds. One would expect those who are in the position of governing to act, in advance, to prevent societal overspeeds as well.
Comment by Alan Greenspan in regard to the current financial melt down:
"This is a once-in-a-half-century, probably once-in-a-century type of event," Greenspan said in an interview on ABC. "I think the argument has got to be that there are certain types of institutions which are so fundamental to the functioning of the movement of savings into real investment in an economy that on very rare occasions — and this is one of them — it's desirable to prevent them from liquidating in a sharply disruptive manner."
It's an interesting statement, but it leads me to ask, "If certain types of institutions are so fundamental to the functioning of the movement of savings into real investment in an economy, and these institutions have been subject to federal oversight and regulation, why didn't you oversee or regulate them?"
I have posted before that our current "free market" capitalism is unfettered capitalism only until things go horribly wrong, and then a government (socialist) solution is applied, at taxpayer expense. The bill for the "free lunch" always arrives. It's just delivered at a later day to someone who never got to eat the meal. If our government were to govern, then bail outs would not be so necessary.
My simple summary of the mess is that folks saw that there was money to be made in the mortgage market. But there is a finite number of people who can really afford taking on a mortgage obligation. Thus, the market for soundly issued mortgages was fixed. The lenders were faced with a pie of finite size that they had to fight over. But fixed size markets are not the American way. So the market had to be expanded, and that was done by issuing mortgages to people who did not have any business borrowing such sums of money. Thus, the creation of new mortgage packages that made it appear, by smoke and mirrors at the time of issuance, that the borrower did qualify. Sort of like Army enlistment standards - when you can't find enough people who meet the realistic standard, redefine reality and lower the standard. Within a short period of time, these marketing geniuses had written billions and billions of dollars in mortgages to a hell of a lot of people who had nowhere near the means to successfully meet the long term conditions of these mortgages. And Bob's your uncle. Totally predictable. Lots of short term profit and impressive "economic health" indicators, but a toxic mix with a ticking detonator.
My cynical take is that our GOP friends ( and perhaps most of the country) have no concept of what Infrastructure is, and how it is vital to the sound functioning of the country. Profits are not infrastructure. Expanding markets are not infrastructure. Infra structure holds and supports the organism. When you weaken infrastructure, the organism collapses. Infra structure requires preventative maintenance. Infrastructure needs to be maintained in a manner that supports current and future need for the organism to be healthy. Governing is part of that task.
So, we awake this morning to the collapse of Lehman and Merrill-Lynch. Both as a result of a failure of the government to govern. And yet, there is a cry from a certain segment of the population for even less governing.
And as a P.S. about government failing to deliver, here's a piece from the IHT about us overseas voters getting assistance in casting our ballots this Nov. Note that is is not our government that established this exceptionally helpful program.