I believe that companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business.
He made this claim as part of an argument to modify his position on allowing failure, because some financial institutions are basically too big to go under. But contrary to his argument, this wasn’t a change at all. In fact, asserting it was a change seems more like a flat out falsehood.
You see, each time his administration stepped forward for tort “reform” over the years, it was to do exactly the opposite: To protect companies from their negligence or bad decisions. Artificial one-size-fits-all caps on damages, for example. Administrative agencies trying to preempt state tort law, as another example. Trying to curtail punitive damages for the worst of the worst, as a third.
Tonight’s speech, of course, will be analyzed by others regarding the financial crisis we are in, the amounts that should be allocated to rescue giant financial institutions, the powers that should be granted, etc. I doubt that few will dwell on this one sentence that jumped out at me while he spoke.
But Bush’s claim that he believes companies that make mistakes should be allowed to fail is just not true. He has protected them in the past. Today’s bail out proposal may be a deviation from his alleged political philosophy, but it doesn’t deviate from his past conduct. And at least one person noticed.