Geo. Will cites CFPB as government overreach while extolling the value of American individualism
Hundreds turn out for WANADA Annual Meeting and Lunch at Ritz/Tysons, Dec. 2
Political analyst and unabashed baseball fan, George Will, entertained and enlightened WANADA members at the dealer organizationês 2014 Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner last Tuesday, December 2. He spoke of the endangered spirit of American individualism and its entrepreneurial philosophy, jeopardized by a creeping statism, or big government, which by design will increase dependency on government.
From there, Will challenged the very existence of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, using a quote from economist Milton Friedman: Take any four letters in the alphabet and throw them in the air, and youêll come up with the acronym of a federal agency we can do without, Will said. The four letters Iêll toss out are CFPB.
Willês focus on CFPB, the regulatory offspring of President Obamaês signature Finance Reform Law, was in response to WANADA Chairman Danny Korengoldês report earlier in the meeting that spotlighted the problems CFPB has been posing for dealers.
But Will noted that in the new Congress the House Financial Services Committee will oversee the CFPB, to be chaired by Sen. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), who is on record as saying he has no use for the CFPB.
More broadly, Will spoke of the dangerous growth of government and its intrusion into every aspect of American life. He held up the 1,197-page Finance Report Law (a.k.a, the Dodd-Frank Act) and contrasted it with the Homestead Act of 1862, the nationês first immigration law. This was a very significant piece of legislation enacted in the 19th Century that weighed-in at just two (2) pages, said Will.
The government has lost all sense of its actual scope, Will said. He contrasted the common liberal view that the United States is, and should be, a government-centric society with the conservative view that business markets are more rational and should be the dominant force.
Vice President Biden, Will told the crowd, recently said that every important idea of the past two centuries has depended on government. Will countered with a list of inventors and business people whose contributions have had immeasurable impacts on American society without government: Ely Whitneyês cotton gin; the John Deere tractor; Alexander Graham Bellês telephone; and Ray Krocês McDonaldês restaurants.
They didnêt begin at the ballot box, said Will. They represented the spirit of American individualism. That individualism, and the fact that government is not the center of our lives, Will said, are what has made America exceptional. This is the culture of America and of American business.
By contrast, the philosophy of statism, that government should seize what it can and thereby become omnipresent is insidious. The controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline that has been blocked shows to what extent energy is permeated by political interests. The CFPB is another example. Is the government going to direct everything, on down to the allocation of credit? Will asked.
Circling back to Washington, he asked, Why the temperature is so high in politics today? Because the stakes are high. Will said, with some leaders advancing a dependency agenda, designed to make more Americans dependent on government.
Turning around a common argument on income inequality, Will noted that the top 5 percent of earners pay 60 percent of income tax, and the bottom 60 percent pay just 3 percent. As a result: The American majority has no incentive to restrain the growth of government because theyêre not paying for it.
But, said Will, We can get better by choosing to get better. He quoted Winston Churchill, who said, The American people invariably do the right thingãas long as they have exhausted all the alternatives. Then, in departure from a number of his philosophical bedfellows, which he admitted he was doing, the topic of immigration was spotlighted, where WANADAês keynote speaker said America needs to properly assimilate immigrants into the U.S. — who are here illegally — because the economy benefits by their readiness to work hard and contribute. Immigrants historically have been a big factor in what has made America great and there is no difference with todayês immigrants, he said. In short, we need them.Download Bulletin PDF