John Ransom

Congress has inflicted frightful punishments on its members--now you know that.  When they tried Mr. Fairoaks, and a cloud of witnesses proved him to be--well, you know what they proved him to be--and his own testimony and his own confessions gave him the same character, what did Congress do then?....Congress intimated plainly enough, that they considered him almost a stain upon their body; and without waiting ten days, hardly, to think the thing over, they rose up and hurled at him a resolution declaring that they disapproved of his conduct!  Now you know that. –Colonel Beriah Sellers, The Gilded Age, Mark Twain, 1873

No single area of public life threatens what previously was known as the American Dream more than the apathy of our public officials regarding their fiduciary responsibilities towards their citizens.

They are mismanaging our money and, worse yet, letting others mismanage it, with a wink and a nod that is, for all practical purposes, destroying the concept of personal property.

Recent scandals involving Congressional inside trading, federal investments in bankrupt green companies, inside banking deals that benefited millionaires and billionaires, along with the collapse of investment manager MF Global have contributed to public skepticism, amounting to cynicism, that those we have entrusted to leadership positions have done what British kings, Nazis and Communists have failed to do: namely, kill free and open markets in the US. 

Free markets and free governments require public confidence in order to operate successfully. Confidence comes from the public’s perception that the markets and governments are fair- or at least neutral- arbiters for investment and public policy.   

Over the last several years, however, there has been mounting evidence that the game of life has been rigged against the general public, not just a little bit, but a lot.

With that realization, our confidence, thus our freedom, has been eroded.   

And if either political party is serious about gaining the trust of the electorate again, they had better address some of these scandals before the torches and pitchforks end up on their steps.

Gone are the days when a change of party in Congress or the White House was enough to placate an electorate spoon feed morsels from a media elite of a few dozen national editors.

Free and open markets in news and media have replaced a half century old oligarchy.

The result has been the slow realization that we have tolerated being wedded to the political equivalent of a bunch of spousal abusers.   


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.