Thursday, July 29, 2010

Barney Frank Rolls the Dice

"Some adults will spend their money foolishly, but it is not the purpose of the federal government to prevent them legally from doing it."

Yes.  Massachusetts Representative Frank actually said this. He’s right, of course, but since when did he not think that the purpose of government was to regulate every financial aspect of our lives? 

That’s certainly what he’s trying to do.

Here, however, he was not talking about those who gambled with their credit and took out loans they had no way to repay because they were enticed by the low standards of loan approval created by government mandated lending practices. No, this is regarding internet gambling, an apparently uncaptured resource, some might classify as wasted resource, oozing into the hands of internet gambling proprietors!

Mr. Frank is animated by the thought that if the government lifts its regulatory ban on internet gambling (which should never have been put in place to begin with) they could not only regulate the flow of funds now leaking out across the internet, but also, they could totally tap that funding resource! After all, Mr. Frank is not interested in using the government to prevent people from making bad decisions.  He’s only interested in using the government to help people after the government has encouraged them to make bad decisions.

Do you see the pattern here? 

We must feed the government so it can feed us.  Personal freedom and responsibility be damned!

I thought the following exchange from a puff piece interview of Mr. Frank by Leslie Stahl in December 2008 on CBS 60 Minutes might be of interest for several reasons. 

"What about the idea that in capitalism, if a company doesn't cut it, they die?" Stahl asks.

"That's what Herbert Hoover said. And Franklin Roosevelt said no," Frank says.

"It's what Darwin said," Stahl points out.

"Yes, it's true," Frank acknowledges. "And Darwin was a very good biologist. I don't think he was much of an economist."

"What we're now faced is with all the taxpayers having to prop up companies that made terrible decisions consistently," Stahl remarks.

"No, we're not propping up companies," Frank insists. "That's your mistake. We're propping up individuals. The world doesn't consist of companies. The world are people. The country is people. And yes, it is possible to argue that the government..."

"But then you're talking about welfare," Stahl says.

"Yeah, I'm for welfare," Frank replies. "You're not? Are you for letting people starve?"


He acknowledges that companies are simply made up of individuals.  Contrast that with his reaction to the Citizens United decision (WSJ 1/2010, bold mine):

Still others professing outrage at Citizens United, such as Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), talk of using securities regulation to hamstring corporations that dare to speak.
And that if you’re not for forced redistribution of wealth, you’re for letting people die (see false dichotomy).

Why do the voters of Massachusetts continue to gamble on this loser's bet?

1 comment:

brendan said...

I actually think Mr. Frank was being sincere in his statement here, and I think it's consistent with the way he operates. Bear with me...

He thinks people should be free to spend their money on whatever they want, and the government should not stop them. BUT, his definition of "their money" differs from what it actually is.

Frank thinks that "your" money is whatever money you earn, that the government allows you to keep (or whatever money someone else earns that the government then plunders & transfers to you).

Given that perverse context, he's being pretty consistent. It's just sad that more voters in MA do not see this mentality for what it is (or worse, support it).

But given that Massachusetts is second only to Illinois in terms of corruption, what can we expect?

Great post!