Lesson 21:  Anatomy of a Recession Part 4:  Conclusions
         The gestational events of this recession give us an opportunity to re-learn some
    lessons that we've been taught before...or to ignore them.  The most basic lesson is that
    government should govern business, not conduct business.  Whenever government tries to
    do any business, it fouls it up beyond any intention or imagination.  That is not ideology;
    it is history, and it is basic economics (see Lessons 4,6,12).  Greed and crime have always
    existed, but only through the power of government can they reach new peaks.  The
    government should never have been in the mortgage business.  Institutions like Fannie
    Mae and Freddie Mac are destined to be vehicles of crony corruption.  They attract
    people like Franklin Delano Raines, who went from Vice President of Fannie Mae to the
    director of Management & Budget for President Clinton, then back to Fannie Mae as its
    CEO.  While CEO, he oversaw massive accounting fraud which put $90 million dollars in
    his pocket.  Instead of going to jail like Enron executives, he became an advisor for
    Barack Obama.  

        The importance of Fannie and Freddie cannot be overstated.  Their existence provided
    a taxpayer safety net for widespread irresponsibility in the private mortgage industry.  
    When it looked like that safety net might not be wide enough, Henry Paulson and the
    Goldman Sachs Gang got government jobs, where they worked to ensure bail-outs and
    favorable regulations.  

        These are the migratory patterns of cronies: from Congressman to lobbyist to
    consultant to commissioner to CEO to cabinet position.  The only way to cleanse this
    parasitic activity is to drain the government swamp from the business environment.  But
    limited government does not mean no government, and the Free Market is not supposed
    to be the Wild West.  Old laws such as the Uptick Rule (Lesson 18) and Glass-Steagall
    (repealed by Gramm-Leach, Lesson 17) were probably old for good reason, and should
    not have been so totally cast aside.  Old, complex laws should be repealed carefully, a
    piece at a time.  

        Likewise, new laws should be passed with equal caution.  Too often, laws such as the
    Community Reinvestment Act (Lesson 16), Rule 157 and Sarbanes-Oxley (Lesson 19)
    sound good and feel good.  They are often passed in sweeping haste, in response to some
    outcry (such as the Enron scandals).  Problems are usually handled most quickly and
    effectively by consumers and their feet.  Next best are their representatives in the
    legislature.  The worst solution is to leave problems to unelected bureaucrats on
    regulatory commissions.  Most importantly, authors of new laws must always consider the
    greatest law of all: The Law of Unintended Consequences.