Okay, I’ve been thinking about this for a little while (and by “a while,” I mean since 10th grade when we studied philosophy about whether people are inherently good or evil), and it’s starting to really come into context with all this federal regulation stuff in the news now.
I’ll be honest: I’m a liberal. If you read my “About” section, you’ll also see that I’m an ex-GOP. I voted for W 8 years ago, in my first election. Even though I voted lib last year, I’m not a huge fan of government intervention. The idea of the government being involved in all these aspects of businesses both annoys me, and freaks me out. But, to be fair, do we really have another choice?
While some companies chose to reform their business practices, many that were “too big to fail” also assumed they were above the rules and laws that came into play in an emergency situation. Once they were gifted with cash from the taxpayers to rectify problems within their businesses, they went back to the way they’d always done things, and grossly misused funds. YOU, AIG, are why companies can no longer have nice things.
The way I see it? Companies were given a chance to show they could function on their own, in a way that wasn’t destructive to the economy, to taxpayers, to employees and to the government. What’s more is that they were given funds to make these changes. Their failure to even attempt to fix what was wrong with their companies fundamentally demonstrates the need for government intervention. These companies couldn’t/wouldn’t make responsible decisions on their own, and so the government, whose entire existence serves to protect the people, has to get involved.
I don’t like it any more than the next person (esp. b/c my dad is a small business owner and is feeling the pain), but when you are intentionally irresponsible, how can you expect any different? (I could go on a tirade on the GWB administration, but that’s another tangent)
That being said, I’ll go back to the first paragraph. Are people inherently good, or inherently evil? I like to think that people are inherently good. But, the wider you distribute responsibility for choices (like in AIG … how many managers/VPs/execs were involved?), the more selfish people become. The less responsibility they know they have to bear, the more they are willing to make bad and selfish choices.