Tuesday, April 21, 2009

sacred cows in American life

Sometimes I wonder why many (not all) of the very folks opposing government regulatory actions - such as financial markets regulation, or gun control - harshly apply Biblical Law in other arenas and speak derogatorily of people holding different opinions (or cheer for surrogates who do trash-talking on their behalf). This disconnection seems completely odd and off-the-wall from my perspective. It's as if they believe that sinful behavior is walled off from particular areas of life because someone somewhere said so, or wrote it down, or was quoted somehow. Then again, they don't believe they can sin with their tongues or pens or computers (cf. James' Epistle, folks).

In my humble opinion, not regulating guns and assault weapons because "the Constitution says so" and never changing that law "because it's the Constitution" is as bizarre as not being able to purchase salt in the grocery store in Italy whenever there wasn't a standing government. (Being Italy, that was rather often.) Their excuse was that salt is and was a government monopoly since the days of the Roman Empire. The Roman law stated that only government-regulated tobacco stores could sell salt, so whenever the governments that had passed temporary laws overriding the Roman laws fell, the law reverted to the days of Rome. Hello?? If the Italians could (and did!) finally figure out that they should make a permanent law regarding the sale of salt, could we please exercise similar strength against this worship of the Constitution? Roman Emperors aren't worshiped anymore, either.

Does anyone else hear echoes of "It is written"? There's only one Book that I refer to religiously when I ask "where is it written?" (Yes, that's a pun and my tongue is in my cheek!)

I left the financial markets in 1987 while working with a Swaps trader who was "making way too much money off of other people's ignorance." (The quotation is from my reasoning, then and since then, for leaving Wall St.) I'm glad that the regulators finally seem to be catching up to what insiders knew was going on for too many decades:

"Regulation should not prevent innovation; rather it should ensure that innovations are sufficiently transparent and understandable to allow consumer choice to drive good market outcomes … We should be wary of complexity whose principal effect is to make the product or service more difficult to understand by its intended audience." -- Ben Bernanke, Chairman Federal Reserve h

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