Societies We Can Imagine

Thomas Sowell pauses for a moment of disbelief at the conversation in America:

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many “czars” appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?
Did you think that another “czar” would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers– that is, to create a situation where some newspapers’ survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?
Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called “experts” deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

There’s a parallel in Rhode Island. You know, it’s not that difficult to imagine a reality in which we wouldn’t be discussing whether or not prostitution will finally be made illegal and binding arbitration for teachers contracts might make a midnight appearance on the State House floor, but rather whether the tax code would be restructured to improve the business environment of the state and legislators would be explicitly barred from selling their votes.
One can dream on a rainy autumn day…

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George
George
11 years ago

Many of these executives should be going to jail, never mind get a salary cut. I’m not advocating goverment power to reduce or set compensation rates. What I am implying is just what I suspect. That the salary cuts are quid-pro-quo for not being prosecuted.
If you see high level Wall Street and Bank executives staying put and taking these cuts, you just know it’s an offer they couldn’t refuse.
This is another example of the Democrat/liberal/radical machine in action. They publicly lump Wall Street and Republicans into the greed pile, while behind the scenes Democrats and Wall-Streeters are co-dependent on each others funds and rules.
All things liberal begin with a lie. Their pre-eminent strategy is to label truth-tellers as liars. Yet they never follow up a lie-accusation, with any substantial proof of the lie. “Bush lied…” What was the lie?
The attack on talk-radio and Fox is the Marxist-radical strategy to discredit preemptively discredit all truth.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

I suspect there is some truth in George’s comment above.
I also suspect that the “unelected official” got his marching orders from an elected official who didn’t want to take the heat.
While activities such as this concern those of us who are already concerned about how government operates, I think that it was a political home run with those who think bankers make too much money.
Still, exercise of such authority is nothing new. Consider the EPA regulations that have been promulgated by unelected officials. “Wetlands” regulations have deprived hundreds of thousands of landowners of the use of millions of acres. Somehow, this is “good” and raises no objection. The same could be said of OSHA and any number of other regulatory bodies.
I will say this, it is usual for lenders to call the shots. It is called “comfort for the lender”. Still, you would lke to think the lenders are “sophisticated”. Still, although I don’t know whose figures can be relied on, I understand that the large salaries are only a rather small portion of profits. I don’t believe they put the lender “in jeopardy”.
I have more concern that the government’s huge increase in the money supply will lead us into a period of inflation. Wait until the Americans see their savings eroding into nothing.

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
11 years ago

Justin, You just might be the last man to take Thomas Sowell seriously. He’s been a bit wacky for quite a few years now; well past his prime. Take for instance a section of his commentary you omitted, which accuses Obama of proposing a national police force of “brownshirts”: “President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries. We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.” And compare it to what Obama actually said last year on July 2: “We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, and to be there for our military families. And we’re going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. We need to use technology to connect people to service. We’ll expand USA Freedom Corps to create online networks where American can browse opportunities to volunteer. You’ll be able to search by category, time commitment and skill sets. You’ll be able to rate service opportunities, build service networks, and create your own service pages to track your hours and activities. This will… Read more »

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“legislators would be explicitly barred from selling their votes.”
It really is amazing that some of the most basic standards of governing are not in place in this state.
Ironically, with the Irons ruling, a second loophole opens just as the G.A. begins the process to close the first.

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