In my evening news troll, I stumbled across this piece from 2009 by Phillip Longman, a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, arguing that, despite what former Gov. Romney says, the feds, backed by taxpayers – most of whom paid a much higher tax rate than the former Gov. – has proven pretty adept at turning around struggling companies.
The auto bailout is a recent example, and, of course, the banks themselves (they promptly turned and bit the hand that fed them – ordinary Americans). But before that, banks have been given a helping hand many times, through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Lockheed, a major military contractor, Penn Central – a classic case treated at-length in Longman’s piece – Chrysler, and more. Bet they didn’t kick a bunch of people off the payroll, either. Note the former Gov. said he would have pushed inflicting more pain on the unionized auto workers. This train of thought follows the view that capitalism is about collecting wealth at the top, not sustainability or responsibility. But, as Longman reminds us, remember that social returns, not profits, are the ultimate measure of success.
And, while we’re at it, let’s not forget the other times taxpayers have had to shell out to repair the damage caused by greed, ineptitude, and outright corruption – the S&L crisis and Enron spring to mind.
Now, to be fair, while Willard Romney is taking most of the heat on this, let’s not forget he has a lot of company in this opinion. The “markets-know-best” philosophy has a lot of adherents.