Column on Why Bailout’s no Public Good

Bailout Is No Public Good
Tibor R. Machan
One of the many benefits of realizing that people are most of all
individuals is that they are unique or members of distinct communities,
teams, families, etc., all very different, nearly all with their unique
goals and attributes. So what is good for some won’t be for others except
very rarely. Even medicine acknowledges that cures and fitness programs
are often highly specific to those who are to be helped. Once one gets
into even more complex areas, like education, careers, living spaces,
vacations, nutrition, dress, and the rest of the zillions of concerns of
people, uniformity is gone. Sure, all of us need to eat but exactly what
is known but ourselves, a few intimates, special consultants, and so
forth. There is no general good except in very general terms that need to
be spelled out for them to have clear meaning and practical implications.
(Of course the idea of a general good is tempting and places like the
Third Reich, the Soviet Union, North Korea have had disastrous histories
with trying to implement them despite the symbolism of uniformity in all
their parades and such!)
The failures are a very good reason to stop all this wealth redistribution
and government regimentation–those folks up there in Washington,
Sacramento, Brussels, and the like just haven’t clue and thus all they can
do when they insist on “doing something” is to muddle about, pose,
pretend, or fake. The proposed auto bailout is a good example. It is
entirely unclear that saving the Big Three is a good thing, even for those
in Detroit. Sure, it can tie some folks over to be bailed out but if
conditions persist and consumers will no longer want what the American
automakers produce, this is folly on a great many fronts! Kind of like
bailing out a failing restaurant or bowling alleys where people no longer
want to do business. Sure enough, establishment of these kinds go out of
business by the hundreds, even thousands, month by month and the only
answer to earning a living for those involved is to find some other line
of work, one for which there are costumers. (And those who love getting
personal about these matters, yes I’ve held about a dozen different jobs
over my more than half a century of life.)
All of us need to be entrepreneurs at times, taking up the task of
discovering what we can do that others want. People’s buying practices and
habits change, they develop and grow and discover new areas of life to
explore, and those who can provide them with what they want will succeed
in making a decent living while those who don’t won’t. That’s one lesson
of the starving artists who keep producing works no one cares for–they
must change their line of work or derive sustenance from the doing of it
and not expect a sumptuous live style. That can, of course, be very
rewarding but it will not generate a steady cash flow!
Why should autoworkers and executives be exempt from these simple laws of
economics? And, more importantly, why should the rest of us be sacrificed
to their unwillingness to realign their careers? Because bailouts mean
nothing other than wealth transfers that are involuntary. A costumer
decides to downsize his or her means of transportation but instead of
saving a few bucks for the effort is then penalized by higher taxes and
inflation and all the results of governments going into debt, basically
prevented from making changes as a consumer.
This is really an obscene disregard of individual rights, a violation of
one’s liberty to use one’s own labor and resources as one sees fit. If all
those going out of business could just rob their neighbors blind with the
approval of governments, that would be a truly crime ridden society. And
ours, as many others, are becoming more and more crime ridden in this
pseudo-civilized fashion, where the crimes are committed under the
disguise of legality.
Consider, also, that under the equal protection clause of the 14th
amendment to the U. S. Constitution the preferential treatment of members
of the auto-industry has to be totally unjust. Why not the waiter who had
to be laid off because costumers left the restaurant so as to save a bit?
Why not everyone whose job evaporated because the economy changed? It’s
the old but expanded practice of featherbedding, nothing else.
And who will foot the bill for that? How do these supporters of bailouts
imagine that the funds used are created? Printing money is what forgers do
and when government does it without the money having solid backing, they
join a gang of criminals once again.
The supporters of the bailout just do not address these matters. No
wonder–there simply is no way to allay the concerns involved. The only
answer is to face the music and learn new steps for a new dance.

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2 Responses to Column on Why Bailout’s no Public Good

  1. Unknown says:

    You say that supporters of bailouts do not address the issues you raise. While true, they nonetheless dismiss them as follows:1) The auto/finance industries are too big to fail, i.e. their collapse would have a massive negative impact on the economy.2) (I recently saw this response on one of the Business channels) to paraphrase, economic theory is all well and good, but we are faced with a real situation affecting real people. We (the govt) need to be pragramatic and apply practical, real-world solutions, not academic/theoretical ones.3) Doing nothing is not an option.

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