Some of you made harsh comments about what I wrote about AIG. I said that AIG should sue the U.S. government and the Fed for saving it when it could have (more likely would have) gone under during the peak of the crisis in 2008.
Insights & Indictments reader Darrell said, "Enough. This is the most vile piece... I have ever read. Those people SHOULD have been allowed to fail. FULL bankruptcy! To borrow from the taxpayers to compensate the "managers" who steered us into this mess with bonuses, and then whine [when] the terms of the loan were too extreme is beyond hypocritical. Capitalism without risk is NOT capitalism. Something you would do well to learn. I am unsubscribing form this service."
Matt chimed in, "I'm with you. Acting like AIG is a victim of the big, mean Fed is preposterous. Maybe Shah and Alex Jones should take their baloney show on the road."
I'm shattered. I've been put upon. I feel victimized by these comments. Where's the safe harbor for journalists and bloggers? How can I be criticized so harshly and not feel victimized? Oh, the humanity!
Of course I'm kidding.
I subject myself to any and all comments when I exercise my freedom of speech. I keep a "Comments" section on my website so my readers can exercise their freedom of speech. I'm not a victim. I don't need any protection from free speech. Free speech is a two-way street.
The point is that I'm sick of the victim mentality. Are you fed up yet?
AIG played the game. It was not a victim of the Fed or the Government.
Banks played the game. They weren't the victims of regulation, the economy, or anything else.
No, they weren't victims. And they didn't create victims, either.
We'd like to see ourselves as their victims. It sure feels like that.
But, like I said, I'm sick of the victim mentality.
We let this happen. Maybe we didn't see it all coming, so we're not completely culpable. But, then again...
Darrell is right. "Capitalism without risk is not capitalism." There are no victims in capitalism. People, businesses, companies all fail. None of them are victims.
The opportunity to try comes with the risk of failure. That's the price.
You aren't a victim if you fail in capitalism; you're just a failed entrepreneur. Most of us get up, dust ourselves off and try again. We should be grateful for the opportunities available in this country.
That brings me back to AIG and the TBTF banks, or any other "protected class" of entrepreneurs. They have to be allowed to fail. A free society with America's unique brand of capitalism demands failure when and where it is warranted.
I wanted AIG to sue the Government and the Fed to open up the window to the back-room dealings that create protected classes of businesses in the first place. I want Americans to understand how that happens, why, and just who pays who for their protection.
Our American economic quandary is partly the result of less competition, not more competition. There are plenty of examples, but AIG and the big banks are the most obvious.
No company - in any industry, ever - should be allowed to get so big that it dictates prices or that its failure threatens the public good.
We need to stop coddling "victims" of the economy or regulation or their own doing.
And we need to stop being victims ourselves.
WE THE PEOPLE have to demand that all too-big-to-fail entities get broken up, so that the only victims in our economy are those who don't try to avail themselves of America's opportunities.
I'm glad we got that straightened out.
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