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Covering All Possibilities, From A to B

Here’s a letter that I just sent to the Washington Post:

Dear Editor:

ask "How did world markets come to the brink of collapse?" ("Washington
Failed to Catch Up to Wall Street
," October 15).  You answer: "Some say
regulators failed.  Others claim deregulation left them handcuffed."
You wonder: "Who’s right?" Perhaps the answer is ‘none of the above.’

to your pose of presenting all relevant possibilities, you miss the
main debate entirely. The chief question is to what extent are today’s
problems caused by market forces, and to what extent by government
interference with these forces.  You, though, take the necessity of
regulators for granted and ask only why they failed.

If you ran
a similar report on the cause of lousy meals served at restaurants
whose kitchens are crammed with regulators, you would likely open it
with: "Some say regulators failed.  Others claim they were handcuffed.
Who’s right?"  Perhaps the answer is ‘none of the above.’  Maybe, just
maybe, the meals will improve only if the regulators clear out of the
restaurants altogether and let the chefs and their customers do their
thing, unmolested and unsubsidized.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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