September 18, 2008

Look at Old Man Potter Buffett...

He's not selling, he's buying:

Buffett's Berkshire Accelerates Pace of Acquisitions

But wait, there's more:

U.S. Stocks Rally Most in Six Years on Plan to Shore Up Banks

California home sales surge as prices plummet

Several people have asked in the last twenty-four hours if I'm worried about the economic crisis. I've told them my only concern is that the government will not allow bad decisions to be appropriately punished. Otherwise, our closest thing to unfettered capitalism as we are likely to see system does exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Financial institutions failing does not scare me. People believing that it's just a matter of getting the right people to turn the knobs and tweak the dials correctly to always prevent this sort of thing on the other hand, they worry the bejeebus ought of me.

It's worth remembering that the people who run the government have the same educations, backgrounds, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, superstitions, abilities, and human nature as the people who ran Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns. No matter where you may sit on the political spectrum there seems to be an inverse relationship between how big you believe companies should get and how big you believe government should get. Glenn Reynolds quotes Lisa Fairfax asking:

When people say that a company is too big to fail, does that really mean that a company is simply "too big"? If so, does that mean that we need to do more to encourage smaller companies, or at the very least do more to discourage large companies or companies that are intertwined with too many industries?

Substitute "government" for "company" and "governments" for "companies" there and let me know what you think.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 18, 2008 06:45 PM

And people are surprised when I tell them that big business generally likes big government. It helps cut down on the competition (little companies don't have big lobbying budgets) and if a business can use its government contacts to get "too big to fail", it can take greater risks while relying on taxpayer money to bail them out for bad decisions.

Posted by: Jon at 09:56 AM