Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some Rare Democratic Gumption

So, the Democrats in Congress aren't simply allowing the corporate bigshots to ram through a bailout deal that gives billions in freebies to corporations without any oversight, or without any possible benefit to the taxpayers and consumers.

They've grown a pair, indeed!

I quite understand why libertarians object to government having power without any oversight by the people. But in their eagerness to kiss corporate ass, what these folks fail to understand is the hypocrisy in their condemnation of governmental oversight of big business.

WE are the government. We are. Does that mean that irresponsible people never manage to worm their way into powerful government posts and abuse their power? Of course not. But when that power is abused too egregiously, there are others in the government who can smack them around. Like the FBI is doing to the CEO's who presided over last week's mega-corporate failures.

Who oversees these corporations? Within the corporations themselves, that is? Nobody, of course.

The shareholders aren't going to do it, because all they care about is the same thing the CEO's do: making all the money they can. The consumers can't do much, either, when huge corporations have eliminated the competition by running everybody else out of business so consumers have nowhere else to go.

Libertarianism has failed dismally at keeping corporate America responsible to the people these companies are supposed to be serving. This isn't because there's anything wrong with the basic principles behind libertarianism -- that all power is potentially corruptive and should be checked by those over whom the power is wielded -- but precisely because corporations are treated, in libertarian-world, as if they are incapable of corruption. Or -- just as insanely -- as if, once they have squeezed out all the competition, those companies' consumers are in any real position to exercise oversight over them.

Libertarianism is a great concept. Libertarians ought to try it sometime -- for real. Unless the theories behind that philosophy are applied consistently -- holding true in the world of commerce, as well as that of government -- then the whole concept falls apart.

Checks and balances, people...remember? Government oversees business, and the people oversee government. When government goes awry, the people are in a position to do a hell of a lot more about it than they are about a corporate giant that holds a monopoly on a product or service they can't do without.

The Democrats used to be the ones who understood this. Then Clinton came along and corrupted the whole works. Now the Dems in Congress seem -- thank Heaven -- to have wised up. Let us hope that President Obama does the same.

He's starting to show more gumption in standing up to Nasty Grandpa McCain. He's not going to let the old grouch chicken out of the first debate on Friday night. Good for Obama.

And let's hope we're still saying "Good for Obama" four years from now.


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