It's not that those who move back and forth between Wall Street and government are evil. But when you are close to a problem, you are quicker to panic. A few years back, brilliant scientists who studied SARS or bird flu sincerely thought a mass epidemic was coming, and therefore government had to "do something." (It didn't hurt that "doing something" meant spending more on their area of research.)
In 1999, computer techs really believed computers would freeze when the calendar turned to 2000, causing planes to fall from the sky. Killer-bee researchers were convinced bees would sting us to death. Anti-pesticide environmentalists, flesh-eating bacteria researchers and today's global warming fanatics are all sincere in their fear.
But unlike Wall Street bankers, none could confiscate a trillion of your dollars and give them to their cronies. Believe me: If Al Gore could have done that, he would have.
Politicians accuse those of us who advocate limited government of being heartless when we say that government should not protect us against loss. But government efforts to "protect" us create a moral hazard that just makes our problems bigger over time.
Politicians say, "Yes, we can!" But don't be fooled: "No, They Can't."
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."