By Lee Habeeb & Mike Leven, SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
Why our business leaders fear their own government, and what they can do about it.
It’s a riveting pitch. The 60-second U.S. Marine Corps commercial begins with images of soldiers running straight into scenes of chaos and danger. The commercial ends with a question that crosses the screen:
“Which way would you run?”
Since the founding of our nation, Americans have selflessly responded to the call of duty, and volunteered to run into harm’s way. And not for the money, but to serve their country.
Contrast that kind of courage with the way many of our nation’s CEOs deal with chaos and danger.
For decades, the ever-growing administrative state has made it increasingly difficult for business leaders to do their jobs. While regulators do play a role in protecting our free-enterprise system and the lives and health of our citizens, much of what passes for regulation has nothing to do with protecting the environment or making the markets safer; it’s about power, control, and revenue. And sometimes, it’s about protecting the interests of one group at the expense of another.
A case in point.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, we learned about what should have been a routine conference call on some rule changes that impact small and regional banks. On the call were officials at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and nearly 1,500 bankers. A man who identified himself only as a fourth-generation banker from Minnesota began complaining about the possibility of having to set aside much more money when making nontraditional mortgage loans.