Friday, July 16, 2010

It's A Little Late For That Now.....

Tenneco's CEO, Gregg Sherrill, wrote an editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal entitled Speaking Up for American Capitalism.

Nice, Gregg, but you're about 18 months too late, and by your own admission.

Consider this passage from Sherrill's piece,

"In one such poll, as the Economist reports in a feature titled "The 70-30 Nation," the Pew Research Center asked respondents whether they were better off in a free market rather than a socialist economy "even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time." Seventy percent said yes.

So why are the 30% in charge of the 70%? According to American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, the "game changer" was the economic crisis. It was the financial crisis of 2008-2009, which was used as a tool to attack the free enterprise system..."

Mr. Sherrill neglects to mention what Mr. Brooks also omitted in the quoted passage, i.e., that American investment and commercial bankers threw themselves on the federal government's and the Fed's mercies to save their institutions from ruin.

As I wrote in a prior post, both business and government leaders failed the American people in this regard. CEOs never should have asked for government help, and George W. Bush should have steadfastly refused said requests.

Instead, Americans witnessed overpaid CEOs of badly-run financial institutions beg to be individually rescued with taxpayer funds.

Never mind that failed institutions would not have destroyed either our economy, nor our financial system. With some alacrity, the attractive portions of said institutions would have found backers or buyers in short order, while the money-losing businesses and their inept management would have been closed.

That's how free markets are supposed to work. Mr. Sherrill doesn't acknowledge that some American businessmen chose to succumb to socialism, rather than suffer the consequences of their mistakes and fall on their financial swords.

Thus, I found Sherrill's entire editorial to be largely empty words and sanctimonious preaching. And very late.

His protestations would have been appropriate during the financial crisis, not after. The time to remind people of the realities of capitalism was at its worst, so that there wouldn't have been so much aberrant government and business behavior.

Not now, when the damage has been done.

Americans won't easily root out and destroy the recent socialistic changes to our economic system until they are confident that the resulting businessmen will live with the consequences of their decisions, and not go running to the federal government for rescues.

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