Ratigan: Regulation to the Rescue

As the DOW hit 9000 for the first time since January, NBC’s “Today” refused to give up its crusade against big banks. Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC appeared on July 24 to offer his opinion on what caused the economic crisis and what needs to be done in order to prevent another.

Not surprisingly, his answer to one of these questions was government regulation. And here’s a shocker, it was not the answer to the first. Ratigan came out swinging against the bank’s greed that supposedly brought the American economy into “total collapse, essentially” as host Meredith Vieira worded it.

Ratigan blamed the banks for the economic crisis and portrayed the bailout as the saving grace of the American people: “…the banking rules allowed our banks to create trillions of dollars in risk in order for the people running those banks to pay themselves billions of dollars. The American taxpayer is now responsible for the terrible decisions of those people, but those decisions of those people created so much risk that the American people and the American government felt it had no choice but to take that risk away.”

And as banks record record profits and the DOW hits 9000, Ratigan and Vieira seemed ready to bet on greed bringing the system down again.  “We also haven’t created a system where that won’t happen again,” Vieira pointed out to Ratigan. Ratigan agreed.

“That’s the thing that frustrates me the most,” he complained, “It’s as if we just inflated the airbag in a car that ran off the road into a ditch, but no one wants to talk about why the car just ran off the road into the ditch. Don’t confuse the airbag with the solution. The solution is to fix the system; the airbag was there to prevent us from being eaten by a bad system. We need to create a good system.”

His way of creating a good system? “[T]he American people have to reform the way our government makes rules for banks, the way our government makes rules for health, and other things.” In other words, the American people need to give government more power to save them from themselves with increased regulation on businesses, banks, and every aspect of so-called free enterprise. Otherwise, there’s nothing between us and “the disastrous practices that were being exhibited on Wall Street”

Yet Vieira and Ratigan both ignore the fact that the system did not break itself, but rather the government pushed the system until it cracked under the weight of all the regulations already imposed, regulations such as CRA, Sarbanes-Oxely, and of course the famed government creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Yet to Rattigan, and most of the mainstream media, government intervention solved the problem, not created it. And even more government intervention is the only way to curb the horrid greed of the free market.