October 06, 2009

Two Tales for Our Times

Two very different newspaper pieces caught my eye yesterday.  One, in the New York Times, told the story of Simmons, the mattress manufacturer that is about to file for bankruptcy, after years of being saddled with debt and drained of cash by its private equity firm owners, who have walked away from their disastrous mismanagement of Simmons with millions of dollars for themselves.  The financial sector used to assist the manufacturing sector in this country.  Now, it seems to assist only itself.

The other was an op-ed in the Washington Times, and detailed absurd federal prosecutions of people who had committed acts that have become criminal only because of the expansion of federal criminal law, which now guards us against such dangers as failing to fill out all the forms for importing orchids or failing to put a federally mandated sticker on a UPS package.  A Congress intent on helping the country would spend more time repealing laws than enacting them.

The connection between the stories is this:  in many ways, we have become a society that rewards people who don’t deserve to be rewarded and punishes people who don’t deserve to be punished.

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