Why Can’t They Just Leave Us Alone?

April 8, 2011   |  

I often wonder, when we experience these terrifically bad swings in the market, where stock values drop, or home values drop, or heavy unemployment hits, or big companies with a lot of employees start hitting the skids, that the government doesn’t just sits idly by and let it happen? I suppose that the precedent was set by FDR way back when he interfered with the markets after the crash of 1929. I mean, he could have, at that time, simply sat back and waited and watched. Sure the depression may have gotten a little bit worse for a bit, but then when prices and wages fell to a reasonable level, then people would have bought things and hired again. Why did the government not sit back and allow some short term suffering to take place, allow the markets to correct themselves, which they surely would have, according to many economists, even given us a much shorter depression. Its agreed that government intervention in the economy back then made things worse. It’s a proven fact that when governments insert themselves into free markets, that they cause perturbations which cause even more pain over time. Maybe its part of the nature of America: when we see suffering, we feel like we need to do something to alleviate it. You see, in my view, free markets are the closest thing we have to the way the world works. Capitalism is like evolution. And like evolution, it is almost impossible to fight against. And maybe this is the root of all of our economic issues: we continue to try to fight evolution by permitting government to insert themselves into the economy, with bailouts, taxes and regulations. It would all work a lot better if they just left it alone. But I guess they need to feel useful: how much has the government done not because they MUST act, but that they feel that they SHOULD act?

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