Who is Accountable?

A great quote from Matt Yglesias that I think sums up the US (and increasingly, Stephen Harper’s Canada) circa 2009:

“To an extent that I find frankly astounding—and certainly unseen in other wealthy nations—people from modest backgrounds are expected to suffer the economic consequences of poor decision-making or bad luck, all in the name of personal responsibility. But when someone really important screws up, either in terms of provoking a financial crisis or overseeing a policy disaster or breaking the law or whatever, well then it turns out that we have better things to do than ‘look backwards’ at who deserves what.”

So yeah, torturers should get a free pass, but the auto workers’ unions better pay for having the temerity to have negotiated well for the needs of their members.

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3 responses to “Who is Accountable?

  1. Dawg I don’t get your argument. Oligarchs have (almost) always gotten off the hook. They’re the ones deciding what the consequences are. Everyone else has to be responsible.

  2. It’s more of an illustrative quote than an argument. I will try to be more argumentative in future 🙂

  3. To be fair, their were lots of people up here and down there that wanted to let AIG and all the other Wall Street firms take personal responsibility and go out of business. We were laughed at by Liberals, Dippers, Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans who were all falling over themselves to see who could get the bailout funds spent on GM, Chrysler and Bank of America fast enough.

    People often asked us why we WANTED a depression or tried to tell us we had to bail out or the system would collapse and that would be bad.

    Well I have always held if union guys and middle class folks have to face the consequences, then so should everyone else. Which is why not one single penny of public funds should be spent on any bank or auto company. Nor should the Bank of Canada create new money out of thin air and call it “quantitative easing”..

    I guess this is my way of saying, my conscience is clear. I’ve said from the beginning we shouldn’t bail out and was called a silly libertarian for my efforts.

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