Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Ideological myths are no substitute for facts

It's important to remember that ideological myths were one cause of the economic collapse, especially myths about regulating special interests.

Politicians who receive money from Wall Street, the oil and gas industry and others justify the protective corporate welfare given their benefactors by invoking ideological doctrines such as those that insists that all government regulation and taxation is inherently bad.

Only by leaving special interests to their own devices, the ideologues claim, will the "trickle down" benefits come to those of us who don't have our own lobbyists

Bernie Madoff destroyed thousands of lives and billions of dollars, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory body charged with protecting individuals from this type of fraud, had been told repeatedly what Mr. Madoff was doing years before he was exposed.

But because the SEC answered to an administration that both discouraged and underfunded consumer protection, the agency failed to perform its duty.

A second example suggests history is repeating itself. The recent Dodd-Frank legislation was passed to prevent fraud and corruption in the financial services sector of the kind that nearly caused the economy to collapse in 2008.

But the GOP-dominated House Appropriations Committee is now cutting $222 million from the SEC's budget, just as its responsibilities for enforcing the Dodd-Frank act increase.

Republicans say the cuts are needed to reduce the budget deficit and the size of government. But the fact is, starving the SEC doesn't lower the deficit, it increases it.

That's because the SEC isn't funded by taxpayers but by fees it collects from the financial industry. So reducing the effectiveness of the SEC will cost taxpayers millions in lost penalties, fees and recoveries.

If America is to compete in the 21st century, we can no longer tolerate the substitution of ideological myths for facts — be it in economics, the role of government or consumer protection.

Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Schaller fails to see danger of U.S. debt

    Columnist Thomas F. Schaller's analysis is incredibly myopic ("Avoiding Europe's austerity nightmare," April 18). To compare the economic condition of the U.S. to those of Greece or Spain at the beginning of the economic crisis is comparing apples and oranges.

  • Military spending is misplaced U.S. priority

    On April 17, I will be protesting war taxes at Baltimore's main post office. I realize that taxes fund many good programs — education, environment and diplomacy. But sadly when 57 percent of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon, the government's priorities are out of touch with the pressing...

  • A better budget remedy than the Buffett rule

    You end your editorial on the Buffett Rule ("The Buffett Rule backlash," April 13) with the question, "Where will the $50 billion come from to balance the budget, if not from this minimum tax plan?"

  • Skeptical of Buffett and need for higher taxes

    First, I'm an 80-year-old living on Social Security, and I know all the tax loopholes need to be closed ("The Buffett Rule backlash," April 13). But isn't it correct that Warren Buffett owes the IRS a great deal of taxes for a number of years? Let's have a true picture of Mr. Buffett.

  • The Buffett Rule backlash

    The Buffett Rule backlash

    Our view: Taxing the wealthy at rates others already face wouldn't solve the nation's deficit, but it would restore a modicum of fairness to the tax code

  • Godless Republicans turn back on poor and sick

    Some churchmen take exception to some of President Barack Obama's positions on matters of faith. I suggest these men of faith take a closer look at the true meaning of religion. All three Abrahamic religions — Christianity, Judaism and Islam — have as their central theme the commandments to protect...