The Crisis of American Financial Dirigisme

Every story you see that suggests that the financial crisis portends doom for laissez faire is based on the erroneous assumption that the markets that have just collapsed so dramatically are especially free. But financial markets are perhaps the most thoroughly saturated with government regulation. If our most regulated markets fail, that somehow bolsters the case for more comprehensive economic regulation? David Boaz puts it well:

[I]f this crisis leads us to question “American-style capitalism” — the kind in which a central monetary authority manipulates money and credit, the central government taxes and redistributes $3 trillion a year, huge government-sponsored enterprises create a taxpayer-backed duopoly in the mortgage business, tax laws encourage excessive use of debt financing, and government pressures banks to make bad loans — well, it might be a good thing to reconsider that “American-style capitalism”

Right on. The government's approach to the crisis appears to about the same as Bush's approach to Iraq: when your strategy is failing, double down.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

44 thoughts

  1. You wouldn’t like Canada, Kerry and Will. They have single-payer health care and they get really excited about hockey. Also, their national anthem is much better than ours, which I assume you would see as a bad thing.

  2. Anyone know who the guy at about 1:10 is that claims to be an American rather than an African-American? I like him, at least for those 3-4 seconds.

  3. The guy at 1:10 is Michael Strahan. Formerly of the NY Giants. I thought he was more intelligent than being duped into a video as shameful as this. But yes, for those 3-4 seconds, he’s got something.

  4. It is such a treat to have the Tragically Hip give us their New Year’s (New Term’s?) resolutions. I was all set to give up retching until I saw the video. There is nothing like being patronized by a the Hollywood set.

    1. Wait a minute, aren’t the tragically hip canadian? Are we being meddled with by foreign governments?

  5. It’s not that these people made a pledge of allegiance to obama, The scary thing is that this sort of blind worship has been occuring prior to this and will only continue and possibly even worsen!! I will pledge allegiance to the flag and to my country and especially to my God, but NEVER to a MAN!! Why don’t they just pledge to serve America instead of a man who is falable and to this point… Unknown?

  6. I find it funny that people in the comments are freaking out about celebrities being stupid. The commercial is creepy, sure, but it’s pretty meaningless; as people have said, it’s just the Hollywood set trying to find some sort of relevance beyond acting in films (and a couple sports and music figures to boot). The only difference here is that they’re being patronizing when someone who they supported is president, rather than before when they were patronizing in spite of someone they did not support being president. All the “head for the hills” comments are ridiculous. This is hardly anything new. George Bush was all but canonized by conservative media in all its forms; why do you expect any different from liberal media with Obama?
    If anything this is business as usual: celebs being dumbasses and pretending that other people care.

  7. If I hear the word “Change” one more time, someone is going to be seriously, grievously harmed.

  8. That’s easily the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a very long time.
    “What’s your pledge?”
    Hmmmmm…. how about….
    I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
    (Not exactly original, but it’d be interesting to see how some of these ape-brains would respond to it.)

  9. I wish celebrities would SHUT THE HELL UP and just act. Do they think they can advise us what to do? Who are these freaks? Pledge to be a servant of Barak Obama? Over my dead body. I serve only God and His son Jesus Christ. I will serve my fellowman when, how, and where according to the dictates of my God not the dictates of any man, especially a man like B.O.–who has no experience whatsoever to be my president. So Ashton and Demi and all you other self righteous actors who love to spew your “love one another” fake facades, just go away because we are all sick of your blabberings. Go back to your old Mother Russia because that what is sounds like you want here in my country, the USA. Man it felt good to say that. 🙂

  10. Pass the puke bucket.
    [quote]Yes, the video is somewhat creepy. But I wouldn’t sound the alarm bells just yet. Three months from now, the honeymoon will probably be over. The left will probably be disillusioned by Obama’s failure to do good-government magic by then. If the lovefest is just as strong in three months, *then* it may be time to head for the hills.[/quote]
    You’re kidding, right? Have you listened to the leftist politicians and media over the last three or four days? I’ve never in my life heard such delusion. There is no way the left and the media (one and the same) will turn on this guy. Why don’t they just erect the golden statue and altar and get it over with. This is the sickest and creepiest stuff I’ve heard in my lifetime and I’ve been around awhile. This is truly scary and there is simply no where to go. We are in for it.

  11. I pledge allegiance to Queen Frag
    And her mighty state of hysteria… Calvin and Hobbes circa 1988
    How nice of all of you “We the People” who elected this empty suit, to give Hollywood an actual thought of them being legit.
    Thank you for now completely screwing us!

  12. I pledge to never buy another movie that isn’t made by Sherwood Baptist Church
    I pledge to give to my local Pregnancy Resource Center, to give a voice to those that don;t have a voice.
    I pledge to never look at P.Diddy again without thinking that his mom should have slapped him more.
    I pledge to rinse the vomit out of my mouth when I am done here!
    I pledge, I pledge I pledge, hey I think a jacket that lets me hug myself would good right now!

  13. Yeah all of you are right. Those are terrible ideas and the world will be worse for it. So THIS is what conservatives are afraid of. LOL

  14. I pledge never to watch Oprah or any of these freaks in a paid movie again if I can help it. By the way where is my bail out money? Why not just lower the tax withholdings and let us get our money?
    Why is this commitment so important to a President? Why not do this to the Constitution? As far as I know no one is a slave in our country. We already fought this battle and the good guys won. But I guess you got the text book where history was rewritten.

  15. I pledge to continue to pray for this country and it’s people. I pledge to continue to be kind no matter how Im treated…although I pledge to snap when deemed appropriate too.
    I also pledge to puke in that bucket if someone will pass it around….

  16. Maybe a little twee, but at least they are trying. Bottle the cynicism in these posts and it is more toxic than all the toxic assets, all the excess carbon in the world

  17. I pledge to uphold the constitution of the United States of America ! ! ! !
    Not to the new DICKtator !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Celebs don’t have more authority they just have more money; Also experts are idiots every time 1 of them says we should do this and we should do that then I know we are about to get screwed.They don’t know anymore than they read in a book,with absolutely no common sense.Bail out this Bail out that—well You haven’t removed the FOX from the hen house yet,just throw in more chickens…….I will give your President the same respect you gave mine——UP YOURS CHUMP!!

  19. The problem of the message is not the words or the act that they are pledging to do. It is the reasoning behind it. The truth is, this message is about a man, a man who is misleading our great nation. There are to many people out there just going along with life and have no clue as to what is going on because of the media and the slobbering love affair that is happening. Will americans wake up before it is too late or will our great nation “founded under god” be devoured by the wolf in sheeps clothing?

  20. I pledge to the president! say what? this is so completely out of order – this guy won’t last his full term, the hounds are on him now and as they dig into this guy, you will find radical communists and marxists like Van Jones are in every corner of this guys administration, put there by his militant wife and her connections… keep digging boys and girls your just hitting the tip of what is buried here

  21. Wow 😉 What a lot of horrible, hateful things people are pledging to here! Ending hunger, smiling at people, ending modern day slavery, making the world a better place for everyone, to be a better mentor for Big Brother, etc! Why ON EARTH would anyone, want someone to forward PAST these pledges? These are GOOD things!
    But….I thought it WAS weird when I heard the (of course) edited, radio version of this, and “I pledge to be a servant to Obama” — boy does that sound weird, along with a lot of the “green” stuff…..but immeduately after the pledge to Obama is a pledge to ALL mankind.
    Forget about politics (I’ve been around and worked with too many good people from all political persuasions to put any moral judgement on left or right) — I hope, sincerely, that all people make a pledge to just be as loving as they can be. There are so many of us good people here–we deserve it. Please don’t let those who want us to hate each other have their way!
    I pledge to the best I can be, to listen to all, no matter what political party they are in, to recognize the good in people I meet and to only say that which will only bless, heal or uplift whoever I am talking to.

  22. I pledge that I was compleatly creeped out by this. We are America pledge to work hard for you and your family if everyone does that, the world will get better. Don’t pledge to serve anyone else, especially a president.

  23. I PLEDGE alligence to the flag of the United States of AMERICA and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, under God,… That’s MY pledge. Obama is setting himself up to be a god. Talk about the AUDACITY!

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