By: Brian Sikma

You’d think that with all the extra, overtime effort at bashing banks and businesses there would be some pay off for Democrats in Congress. Apparently, that is not the case. Released today, Gallup’s annual Confidence in Institutions poll shows Congress ranked dead-last in the list of institutions people have confidence in.  A mere 11% of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress as a body. Standing well above Congress in the confidence rankings are banks and businesses. Yes, this is after the BP oil fiasco started, after the Wall Street financial crisis, and during a period of very high unemployment.

Business and the private sector are not always right.  Left to themselves, human beings in any area will always tend towards failure. But those who argue that government is always the antidote to whatever wrongs are present in the private sector fundamentally overlook the fact that government is comprised of individuals, and government can  more frequently afford to abdicate its responsibility than any private sector enterprise. Take the BP oil spill for example. BP did violate important and absolutely necessary safety regulations in the day-to-day operation of its Deepwater Horizon rig. But government, when responding to the crisis, compounded an already severe problem by bungling the response, turning down legitimate offers for help from international vessels, and imposing unecessary red tape right at a time when decisive action was necessary.

Government can and must keep the private sector accountable by serving as an impartial enforcer of laws and regulations designed to mandate honesty and transparency. But when government inserts itself into the very operation of a bank or business, and unilaterally limits the ability of business owners, investors, and stockholders to make decisions that will put millions of Americans to work and generate wealth in our economy, it crosses an important boundary. Without government we could not have prosperity, with too much government we will never have prosperity; today we are facing the problem of too much, not too little, government. Members of Congress might see their collective confidence rating rise if they decided to err on the side of liberty while generally regarding government power with mistrust, instead of vice versa.