Political Excess

“Members of Service Employees International Union and other activists gathered at noon Thursday outside Denver’s Wells Fargo Center to protest what they called ‘corporate excess’ as part of dozens of demonstrations planned in 30 cities targeting large financial companies.” The Denver Daily News also reported the story.

It is indeed an outrage that AIG and others are essentially paying huge bonuses with taxpayer dollars.

But wait just a minute: who is it that promoted this “corporate excess?” It was the union candidate, Barack Obama, who, along with his predecessor George W. Bush, promoted massive corporate bailouts. The fundamental problem is not corporate excess, but political excess. What we need is an end to all federal bailouts and all political controls of the economy.

The unions, too, contributed to this excess. Unjust union legislation is a big reason why American companies are not competitive, and why the auto industry in particular is failing. The union pressure for artificially higher wages is part of the reason why federal politicians acted to bail out corporations rather than let failing companies go bankrupt. So for the unions to now decry the very political interventions that they helped bring about is absurd and hypocritical.

I have plenty of criticisms of the Ludwig von Mises Institute — which hardly remains true to the ideas of its namesake — but recently the organization published a talk by Peter Schiff that goes a long way toward explaining the political excesses behind the irresponsibility of some American corporations. Schiff discusses how the Federal Reserve, first under Clinton and then under Bush, promoted a bubble economy through easy credit.

All the unions want to give us is more of the failed policies that created the economic crisis. Unions, insofar as they benefit from federal favoritism, are part of the problem. What we need is an end to political excess and a renewal of truly free markets.