Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Back on Track

I had my faith in the universe shaken to the core the other day when I agreed with something that columnist Paul Krugman wrote. Normally I simply think the guy is long on bile and short on the finer points of logic and reasoning. Today, though, things were in their normal place. Mr. Krugman wrote that the Bush administration (whom he blames for everything that's gone wrong since prohibition) is to blame for the banking mess because they didn't watch the bankers closely enough.
The problem with that is that it just ain't so. Mr. Krugman has made a logical connection that isn't really there. Let's suppose that I am king of the world, and I neglect to make a law against murder. So, Cain kills Abel and gets away with it. Now, I am negligent in not making a law, but that's just so that we can get away with whacking Cain for whacking Abel. The key point is that the lack of a law didn't cause Cain to kill Abel. If I remember right, it was jealousy and the desire for gain that did the trick.
So, the greedy, avaricious, unscrupulous (several other adjectives here) bankers fleeced the public and did so because there were no people standing over them with whips. Okay, we need oversight. But, and here's the point that Krugman either forgot, elided, or simply left out: the lack of supervision provided an opportunity, but didn't cause the act. A subtle point, but an important one.
I respect Mr. Krugman's intelligence -- I really do. It's just that we are at opposite ends of the elephant. I've got the trunk and he's got...

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