Richard Rahn has ripping good rant at Cato about politicians:
Are all too many in the global political class doltish, or do they just appear that way? The current financial meltdown has revealed an amazing number of revelations from people who were surprised by the obvious.
For years, liberal Democrats in Congress and some Republicans pushed for banks and other institutions to make home loans to unqualified borrowers, and suddenly we find many of these people cannot repay their loans.
He rips mostly Democrats, but this is really an equal opportunity rant. He gets Greenspan too:
Alan Greenspan seems to have been surprised to find out that when he kept interest rates below the rate of inflation, banks over-borrowed and were less careful as to how they lent or invested the money. This “surprise” occurred despite the fact many warned of the consequence.
And he doesn’t confine himself to the US either:
Political officials outside the United States are also endlessly surprised. For instance, the Russian prime minister seems to be surprised that the Russian stock market has fallen to half its value in May – just because Vladimir Putin has eroded the legal and property rights of private firms, invaded Georgia, and threatened other countries and outside investors.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown seems surprised that businesses and international business people are fleeing London just because he increased their taxes. He also seems to be surprised the flight has hurt the British economy.
He ends with a flourish:
Some politicians are “surprised” at the obvious because they are ignorant. However, many more are “surprised” because immediate gratification, whether applause or votes, is more important to them than being responsible, and others are “surprised” because they are just plain corrupt. Being “surprised by the obvious” happens in democratic countries because the media are too fearful, ignorant or biased to ask the tough questions beforehand, and because the population doesn’t understand the second-order effects of political actions.
In the private sector, those with fiduciary responsibilities can be fined or even sent to jail if they are surprised by the obvious. Given the great suffering caused by the fiscal mismanagement by the political class, should not the private sector penalties apply to them?