I am uncomfortable defending Wall Street Greed, yet I am even more uncomfortable with the threat of government greed.
Wall Street greed at its worst can lead to corporate failures and fortunes lost. Government greed leads to freedom failure and loss of the American Dream. Wall Street greed, as unseemly as it may be, is self-correctable within free markets. Government Greed is correctable only by good citizens, timely doing their duty.
Wall Street greed is a by-product of our human nature, all too often abetted by government interference and distortion of the natural marketplace, as seen in the mortgage and housing crisis.
Government greed is viral and avaricious, and far more dangerous. It is fed with both tax dollars and dreams of the people it is suppose to serve. And freedom, once consumed by government, is recovered only through most arduous effort, if at all.
The ‘problems’ of Wall Street are, in some respects, similar to those we have in Washington. It is a culture that defines leadership as “getting mine first” and responds to market incentives, for better or worse. Its ailments come from that pampered generation that learned and taught themselves that they each were ‘special’ – too special for patriotism, sacrifice and military service.
Their early formation of character found abundant reinforcement to ‘self-esteem’ but precious little to selflessness and character. Old Virtues of another generation, “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” were demeaned and replaced by artificial protection from the consequences of irresponsibility and moral ambiguity. Both Wall Street and government learned their lessons well. Fewer than five percent of the sitting members of congress have ever worn the uniform and endured the privations of military service to their country. I daresay similar numbers apply to Wall Street.
Now it is time for people of honor to come forward and serve once again in an hour of need. These are the best among us – already proven in their willingness to give to a larger cause than self.
We have seen baby-boomers on Wall Street grab enormous bonuses like frenzied vultures feeding on carrion. Risks were mitigated and profits shared by collusive politicians. Washington uses Wall Street Excess, often the very product of Government action and incentive, as an excuse to expand political power at the expense of American freedom.