The cacophony from McCain, Obama, and Congressional Democrats running from their culpability, blaming our fiscal crisis on greed is thoroughly nauseating.Â Beyond redundant, itâ€™s childish, itâ€™s condescending, and ultimately moronic.Â It makes one wonder if either of our presidential candidates has any knowledge of history or our Founders state of mind in constructing our Constitution.Â Perhaps they are much smarter and devious than they appear having schooled themselves by Adolf Hitlerâ€™s Guide to Propaganda.Â Or perhaps they are just willing to promulgate populist expectation because it is easier than leading.
Complaining that greed caused our financial meltdown is like complaining gravity knocked down the World Trade Center.Â Greed, like gravity exists.Â The goal of engineers, those designing our skyscrapers and those designing our monetary policy is the same; donâ€™t let natureâ€™s intrinsic characteristics knock down our buildings or destroy our banks.
The World Trade Center designers actually did a pretty good job, those towers were quite sturdy and it was nearly impossible to anticipate what huge airliners would inhabit the sky thirty years later piloted by religious fanatics on a Kamikaze mission to trade their lives for American citizensâ€™.Â
If only our politicians were as bright.Â All they had to do was anticipate, â€œHmm, if I give this unemployed loser a home mortgage for more than a propertyâ€™s worth so he can pocket a quick thirty grand, will he make expeditious monthly payments?â€Â
As my kid would say, daaaa!
Without a doubt this bank fiasco has been fueled by greed, but where does that evil characteristic reside?Â With politicians who received generous donations to block regulatory control over government sponsored institutions; with mortgage borrowers who could actually pocket cash and stay in a house rent free for months on end while the meltdown distracted banks from evicting them, with chief executives who would boost their yearly bonuses by pushing out as much bad paper as possible assured the federal government would cover them, or with a president bragging home ownership has risen to the highest level in our countryâ€™s history?
With all this greed running around you would think presidential candidates would be embarrassed to even mention it, but instead their rejoinder, â€œYou all have been greedy, but just trust me, I will be greed free!â€
Good campaign slogan.Â I wonder if James Madison would have liked it?
â€¦Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. Â The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. Â It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. Â But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? Â If men were angels, no government would be necessary. Â If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. Â In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
From Federalist No. 51
Do we not reap what we sew?Â We want our government to provide us with all?Â Do we expect that all can be provided without breaking down the moral barriers which â€œoblige government to control itselfâ€?
The difference between men of our Founding generation and men of our current generation is those men knew that gravity makes stuff fall down and they endeavored to control that reality instead of whine about natureâ€™s law.
Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo