By Tom Quiner
Some of the folks participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests have a good point: they need a job.
The official unemployment rate continues to hover above nine percent. That number doesn’t reflect another group, the permanently unemployed. These are the folks that have given up looking for a job. When you factor them into the equation, some economists put the actual unemployment rate at 15% to 20%.
Americans are hurting. They want answers. They want solutions.
There seem to be two camps in America these days. The Tea Party camp sees government as the problem. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) camp sees government as the solution. Specifically, the OWS seem to view the economy as a zero-sum game, that somehow the rich are rich at their expense. Their solution seems to be for the government to intercede by taxing the rich and redistributing it to the rest of us.
They seem to want more government intervention in the marketplace. And yet it is just that that is the root cause of so many of our problems.
Let me ask you a question. What are two of our most screwed-up market sectors?
I would suggest the housing market and health care. Both have been victims of what I term “politically-correct capitalism.”
The home mortgage market was corrupted by government pressure on the private sector to make loans to folks who weren’t credit worthy. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was given teeth by President Clinton and his Attorney General, Janet Reno, who threatened to sue lenders if their client list wasn’t racially balanced. Lenders were pressured to lower credit, income, and down payment criteria by the government.
That was just just the beginning.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises, lowered their lending standards which encouraged even riskier loans by mortgage lenders.
President Bush pushed the American Dream Down Payment Assistance Act which required the FHA to subsidize down payments for low income Americans.
Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took on a trillion dollars worth of subprime loans and guaranteed another two trillion.
Of course, the market that soared built on politically-correct loans collapsed like a house of cards when home values began to decline.
Government intervention created the problem.
Look at the price of health insurance. Government prevents us from buying health insurance products across state lines, which dramatically limits consumer options. Even more, state and federal governments have systematically created mandates that require health insurance companies to provide (and charge) for coverage that their clients do not necessarily want.
So at the same time government reduced our choices, they ratcheted up the price we pay by forcing us to buy coverage we don’t want. All of this in the name of politically-correct capitalism.
You can see the results of this skewing of the marketplace by what you don’t see on television. Unlike car insurance companies that market across state lines without the burden of undue government mandates, there are no TV commercials touting low-priced health insurance policies.
Government has essentially suppressed competition, the life blood of a healthy market place.
The elites in Washington always know what’s best for us.
So how do we create opportunity for the legions of Americans hurting from the effects of politically-correct capitalism?
We need to reduce the role of government in the marketplace.
We need fewer regulations, not more. Each regulation has a price associated with it. Each excessive regulation costs us jobs.
We need less government spending and less taxation, not more.
We’ve done it Obama’s way.
Are you satisfied with the results?