It was amusing to read Leith Gunn's letter of the 2nd of March, 2011,titled "Populist governments are to blame " on the alleged "inane diatribe" of one Greg Edwards, identified by Mr Gunn as a "naive, left-leaning statist." (1)
It is a rule that any country styling itself as "Democratic" can only be a totalitarian Hell hole; similarly, we can be sure any writer accusing another of producing an "inane diatribe" will go on to do precisely that.
Leith Gunn does not disappoint.
He points the finger - with justification - at the actions of the American government in the 90s, particularly the repeal (masterminded by the Republicans Phil Gramm, Thomas Leach and Jim Bliley in 1999) of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
He suggests - again with justification - that the removal of restrictions on the market brought about the financial catastrophe of 2008.
But in trying to pin the blame on "populist governments," and ""Political decisions, Left and Right," he makes a complete fool of himself.
And whatever else you can say about Gram, Leach and Bliley, they were not motivated by populism. Only a small percentage of their votes came from those who benefited from their legislative irresponsibility. Only a few benefited from it, after all.
I suspect, however, a considerable percentage of their campaign funding came from these sources.
He also overlooks the fact that the the system worked for seven decades, then within seven years of the controls being removed, the 'invisible hand' of the free market lead us to disaster.
In other words, it wasn't actually the actions of any "naive, Left-leaning statist" that brought the roof down, but the actions of naive, rightwing free marketeers.
So, we really need these "statist" controls to stop markets from eating themselves alive. Mr Gunn tries to duck this issue by claiming, "Political decisions, Left and Right, are where the problem lies" and babbling about fiat money.
No, old chap, the fixes and controls put in place by the leftish politics of the New Deal era, after one free market induced disaster, kept things ticking over quiet nicely for decades. With those controls were removed, it took just nine years for the free market to go all to
1 - "Populist governments are to blame," a Letter to the Editor, by Leith Gunn. Published in the Dominion Post, 2nd of March, 2011. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/4720817/Letter-Populist-governments-are-to-blame)