Many people, mostly through ignorance, believe that government regulation and oversight of virtually every aspect of our lives is required so that shysters don’t take our money in ponzi schemes or we aren’t subject to the availability of harmful substances.
After all, the government knows best, right? That’s the flawed premise that proponents of government regulation operate on; we aren’t smart enough to keep ourselves secure. It’s that flawed belief that also leads to a greater threat to our own well being.
Take the Bernie Madoff scandal for example.
John Stossel brings up the point that Madoff didn’t swindle your average Joe, but rather well educated investors (http://tinyurl.com/bst7l4). The are certainly not dumb people.
They got lazy though and didn’t want to verify the legitimacy of their investments. Why? Probably because the Securities and Exchange Commission had tacitly given its blessing to Madoff by not being in the process of investigating him.
Read Stossel’s column in it’s entirety and you’ll find out that someone outside of the government actually realized that Madoff was making offers that were too good to be true. The SEC didn’t care about his alerts though.
Governmental regulation and oversight does nothing but provide a false sense of security for those not wiling to practice diligence. In cases where regulation is used in an attempt to thwart fraud, there will always be people that can, and will, get passed it.
The ironic thing is that the government even acknowledges this in a piece of pending legislation that would give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. According to the bill, it would be illegal for statements to be made, either through the media or labeling, that the tobacco products are regulated by the FDA (http://tinyurl.com/cn3m5w).
There would be no reason at all for the bill to contain this wording, other than that the bill’s author realizes that knowledge of product regulation will lead some people to believe that tobacco products are safe.
So if such holds true for tobacco products, where almost everyone realizes the danger it poses, why would it not hold true for things that a great majority of people wouldn’t understand? It’s pretty clear that government regulation leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of harm.