Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Too Big to Fail" is TOO BIG

Here's another letter I wrote and sent to my elected officials. Some of you may recognize the tune -- I've sung this song before. I read a news story today that pushed the wrong button and sent me off on this rant again.

Once again, feel free to repeat this, and to write your own elected officials in Wash DeeCee.

Dear [insert title and name of elected official here]:

Once again today, I read about businesses that are "too big to fail." Today, it was AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I've also heard the term applied to General Motors and Ford.

If you look around the country, you will find other businesses that claim to be "too big to fail." These are the giants in banking; aviation; oil and gas; health care; electric power; telecommunications; the military-industrial complex; and other industries that I'm too tired to list right now.

Essentially, these are giant companies whose tendrils of influence extend into other companies and other business sectors, and if one of them does "fail," the aftershocks are enough to weaken many other companies, not to mention cities, states, branches of the federal government, and even signficant parts of the rest of the world.

Please, listen to me carefully. IF A U.S. COMPANY IS "TOO BIG TO FAIL", THEN IT'S TOO BIG.

I don't have an MBA. I'm not a politician. I don't even have a job right now. But I'm not an idiot, either.

I voted for a president, for senators, and for representatives. I expect these people to run the federal government. I DID NOT VOTE for the CEOs of GM, Ford, or Chrysler. I did not vote for the executives of AIG, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. And yet, like the proverbial tail wagging the dog, it is these giants of industry who are dictating your actions and the actions of the majority of elected officials in Washington RIGHT NOW.

I want to suggest a change. Take all those companies that managed to grow until they became "too big to fail," and break them up. Break AIG, Bank of America and the rest of the megabanks back into the smaller companies they used to be. Do the same thing with GM and Ford.

The history of American enterprise, and indeed the recent history of international commerce shows that smaller, nimbler companies perform better in this 21st-century world. The time of the megacorporations is over.

There is precedent in the U.S. for such actions. U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, and AT&T come immediately to mind.

The major obstacle to making this happen is political courage. In the modern world, ruled by greed and financial power, a course of action like this is as dangerous as real tax reform, or Social Security reform. Please, have the courage to do the dangerous thing.

I'd be glad to speak with you in person about this.

Ray Depew
[address and phone number deleted]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Question: Isn't this what the government mandated of MicroSoft?

Thought: Maybe the way to have this mega whatevers have less influence on our elected leaders, and leave them free and without guilt to do the wisest and most prudent thing, is for these officials--our officials-- to return the monies provided to them from these entities for their elections/reelections! It seems we are not reaping the benefits of these "payouts"--they may not be representing us well, we received not financial benefit. To whit...We are paying dearly for the fact that funds were provided to our elected officials.

What a great resource to rant. Thanks.

xoxo Cher