Too Big to Beautify

  1. TBTF Update
  2. Big Biz Bullies
  3. Small is Beautiful

1

What determines whether a firm is systemically important? There aren’t any cut-and-dried rules — there can’t be, because if there were, corporate lawyers would find ways to evade them. Instead, it’s a judgment call. But financial giants that don’t like being regulated are trying to use litigation to question those judgments.

(Paul Krugman) Hmmm. Big government regulating big business based on a “judgment call” that the business is systemically important.

Krugman is just fine with that.

The Wall Street Journal, whose James Taranto never misses an opportunity to sneer at Paul Krugman, has a much sunnier opinion of the court decision Krugman laments, and a scathing mockery of the Treasury Secretary:

Since this was the first time that the new stability council faced a court challenge, taxpayers might have hoped that the regulators would study and reflect on the opinion and then conduct a thorough review of how the council performs its risk analysis.

But Mr. Lew’s background is in politics, not finance. So he issued a long critical press release after the decision was unsealed—conduct unbecoming a cabinet officer responding to a federal court. Then on Friday came the notice of appeal, roughly a week after the decision was reached. Typically a decision like this one, especially in a complicated financial case, would receive careful legal consideration at multiple levels within the government before leaping to appeal. But there’s a news cycle to think about.

Mr. Lew is treating Judge Collyer’s reasoned analysis as a judicial micro-aggression, but he won’t necessarily find his safe space at the appellate level. It’s true that President Obama and Harry Reid packed the D.C. Circuit with liberals by blowing up the Senate’s filibuster rule. But the three judges randomly selected to hear the appeal won’t necessarily believe in unlimited discretion for Mr. Lew.

2

Too many business leaders are embracing a politically correct social agenda, trying to force every state and every citizen to walk in lockstep. The private economy would be foolish to reject America’s heritage of liberty, which has powered the greatest engine of economic success in history. And if corporations want the benefits of a business-friendly environment, with lower taxes and less regulation, they would do well to recognize who enacts such policies: people with center-right social values, not the hard left.

(Georgia State Senator William Ligon in the Wall Street Journal)

There’s more to be said — indeed, I said it carefully but then decided it interrupted a salutary theme, so I’ve deleted it. Perhaps another day.

3

Distributism is the rather awkward name given to a program of political economy formulated chiefly by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, two of the most prominent English writers of the early 20th century … They rejected socialism, believing that private property was an essential component of human flourishing, but they also rejected the existing capitalist system as concentrating private property in far too few hands.

As Chesterton put it in The Outline of Sanity: “The truth is that what we call Capitalism ought to be called Proletarianism. The point of it is not that some people have capital, but that most people only have wages because they do not have capital.”

(Gene Callahan, Distributism is the Future)

What’s not to like? Doesn’t this resonate with the increasingly obvious problems of our current crony capitalist system? It would, among other things, eliminate both Too Big to Fail to fail without an arbitrary regulatory body, the corporate political bullying that has recently emerged, and the problem of those corporations coming to states with their hands out, playing one state against another.

Would it change your opinion were I to reveal what the first ellipsis replaces?

Both Catholics, they sought to turn the social teaching of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI into a concrete program of action.

If it would, I’m sorry for you.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.