Dishonest Disclaimer

by Don Boudreaux on March 14, 2009

in Regulation

Here's a letter that I sent yesterday to the Wall Street Journal:

To the Editor:


report that "New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is in
discussions with Rep. Barney Frank and other lawmakers on a plan to tie
Wall Street pay to the long-term performance of the firms" ("Cuomo, Frank Seek to Link Executive Pay, Performance," March 13).
But lest anyone conclude that Messrs. Cuomo and Frank propose giving
government excessive power, we're assured that "A person close to Mr.
Cuomo said change is needed but the intent isn't to micromanage or
interfere with the private sector."


is not changed by dishonest disclaimers. Suppose that I threaten to
break my neighbor's knee-caps if I determine that the weekly allowance
he gives to his children is too high. Should he be reassured if my
threat is accompanied by an announcement that my intent isn't to
interfere in his private life?



Donald J. Boudreaux

I wonder how Mr. Frank and his fellow members of Congress would react to a proposal to tie their pay to the long-term fiscal soundness of the U.S. government.


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