Monday, September 14, 2009

Gangster Government

Tyler Cowan, writing in yesterday's NYT:
[I]f bankers criticize the Treasury or the Fed, they risk losing their gilded cages and could get a bad deal when the next bailout comes. When major economic sectors can be influenced in this way, are we really very far from the nightmare depicted by Ayn Rand in “Atlas Shrugged”?
This reminds me of an off-the-cuff statement Obama made earlier this year while giving a commencement speech at Arizona State University. Commenting on the fact that ASU refused to grant him an honorary degree, Obama quipped:
I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.
The president was trying to be cute, by making light of the coercive power of the federal government. But he was also reminding us all of the power he wields. It was plain and simple intimidation: the method of thugs, not presidents.