It's this market discipline of profits and losses that many businesses seek to avoid. That's why they descend upon Washington calling for government bailouts, subsidies and special privileges. Many businessmen wish not to be held strictly accountable to consumers and stockholders, who hold little sympathy for economic blunders and will give them the ax on a moment's notice. With a campaign contribution here and a gift there, they get Congress and the White House to act against the best interests of consumers and investors. Allison suggests that if our country had a separation of "business and state" as it does a separation of "church and state," crony capitalism or crony socialism could not exist.
Allison says that crony capitalism should not be our only concern. The foundation for economic collapse 20 to 25 years from now has already been set. Social Security and Medicare deficits, unfunded state and local pension liabilities, government operating deficits, baby boomer retirement and a failed K-12 education system have eaten out our substance.
What I take away from Allison's highly readable book is that our biggest problem lies in the Federal Reserve's ability to manipulate our monetary system to accommodate big government and use inflation to rob Americans. That's why politicians and government leaders everywhere hate a monetary system based on gold. They can manipulate the quantity of paper money, but they can't manipulate the quantity of gold.
Here's a tidbit of information about John Allison, now president of the Washington-based Cato Institute, that speaks to this man's morality as BB&T's CEO, which can't be praised highly enough. His company refused to lend money to developers who acquired land by having the government take it from private owners, euphemistically called eminent domain. That's putting his money where his mouth is, not sacrificing principle for the sake of earnings.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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