So, Who Can We Trust?

Doggone if topsy hasn’t gone turvy on us.

“The government needs to take over control of the oil spill mess from BP,” many of my friends and family say these days. “We can’t trust BP.”

Only recently they were saying, “Don’t let government take over health care. We can’t trust government.”

And then there were actually some folks on the Gulf Coast asking for FEMA to be brought in to handle the recovery effort from the oil spill.

Oh, my.

So, who can we trust to “get the job done?”

About 20 years ago I crafted a speech called “Don’t Trust Government.” Re-read it and found it still relevant. Add “don’t trust big business” and it’s more relevant. The premise of the speech came from the Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress signed on July 30, 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. That was the resolution declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. We had been putting the phrase on money since 1864, but it wasn’t an “official” motto.

Still seems like good advice to me on where to place trust, especially since the genesis of so many of our problems today comes from the love of money.

BP sought to maximize profits, so it cut corners and BOOM we got our catastrophic oil spill. Same goes for AIG, Leyman Brothers, Countrywide Financial, and so on. “Yeah, big bada boom,” as Bruce Willis said.

Then there’s the Mining Management Service acting so cozy to big oil that fundamental safety precautions got exempted. And, the Securities and Exchange Commission that somehow never saw the credit crisis coming. Or, Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Board that trusted Wall Street to “self-regulate.”

Don’t trust any of ‘em.

Ronald Reagan had a more politically correct way of saying this. “Trust, but verify,” he said. Which, of course, means “don’t trust ‘em until they prove themselves, then keep your eye on ‘em.”

Problem, today, is we can’t trust the verifiers.

Yes, our founding fathers appreciated the poor trustworthiness of government and big business. Yes, they put into our Constitution a system of checks and balances and a free press. No, they never imagined we would legitimize so many corruptive activities to throw that system out of kilter.

Meanwhile, how ironic is it to see Coast congressmen among the booms lining the beach, oily water lapping at their feet, yell out at President Obama to lift the moratorium on deep water drilling before safety inspections can be completed. The moratorium is killing off-shore jobs as fast as the oil spill is killing off other jobs.

“Big bada boom” for darn sure.

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