Bulletin
Investor Alert
Rex Nutting

Rex Nutting Archives | Email alerts

May 20, 2015, 11:47 a.m. EDT

Should companies have the right to ignore ‘stupid’ regulations?

Charles Murray aims to be the Gandhi of the nanny state

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

  • X
    Citigroup Inc. (C)
  • X
    JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
  • X
    Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch


AEI
One of these people is not like the other.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Professional provocateur Charles Murray has published a new manifesto excerpted on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, recommending himself as the Gandhi of our times (or perhaps the Martin Luther King Jr.) in opposition to the encroaching nanny state.

A scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Murray argues that Americans (or “white American males, at any rate”), who once enjoyed unfettered liberty to live their lives the way they wanted and God intended, now must bow and scrape as if they were nothing more than “Norwegians, Germans or Italians,” blindly giving obedience to their government masters.

“What made America unique first blurred, then faded, and today is almost gone,” Murray laments.

Click to Play

Takata air-bag recall expands to 34 million cars

Murray’s new book, “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission,” argues that the bloated American regulatory apparatus can only exist if we voluntarily comply with it.

Murray’s “modest” proposal: “Let’s withhold that compliance through systematic civil disobedience. Not for all regulations, but for the pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones.”

Our big corporations don’t seem to be groveling like some kowtowed Norwegian.

Murray has been preoccupied for much of his career studying the moral failings of poor Americans that lead them into lives of petty crime and poverty, so he probably hasn’t noticed the moral failings of our managerial class that propel them into lives of great crime and immense wealth.

Murray apparently hasn’t noticed that corporations large and small have been taking his advice for years. They’ve been withholding compliance all along. Not for all regulations, just the “pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones.”

Our banks, pharmaceutical companies, auto makers, food companies, energy companies and other corporations don’t seem to be groveling like some kowtowed Norwegian. Instead, they ignore regulations that inconvenience them or cut into their profits; that is to say, the “pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones.”

For instance, the pointless rule that requires that banks that wish to foreclose on homeowners must prove that they actually own the mortgages that are in default. Such a pointless rule! Would Citigroup /zigman2/quotes/207741460/composite C -1.47% , J.P. Morgan Chase /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM -0.21% , Wells Fargo /zigman2/quotes/203790192/composite WFC +0.08% , Bank of America /zigman2/quotes/200894270/composite BAC -0.55%  or Ally Financial /zigman2/quotes/206227672/composite ALLY -1.53%  foreclose on a property if they didn’t own the mortgage?

Or rules that require auto makers to build and sell cars that will stop when drivers apply the brakes , and go only when they step on the gas. Next you’ll want General Motors /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -1.32% , Ford /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F -0.69% , Bridgestone /zigman2/quotes/205589013/delayed JP:5108 -0.97%  and Takata   to fix their killer ignition switches , exploding gas tanks , defective tires and airless airbags!

What about those stupid rules that require companies to produce food free from deadly pathogens like listeria, E. coli and salmonella. How can our major corporations exercise their god-given right to the pursuit of happiness if they can’t randomly kill a few customers?

Or the stupid rules to stop banks /zigman2/quotes/203020019/delayed XE:BNP -2.29%   /zigman2/quotes/206172872/composite UBS -1.96% from helping clients to launder money or avoid taxes . Or rules that prevent traders at too-big-to-jail banks   /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC -3.10%  from manipulating financial markets.

Or the tyrannical rules that say if you /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -3.48%  are drilling for oil a few miles beneath the Gulf of Mexico, you must be able to quickly stop any oil that might leak out of your well.

/zigman2/quotes/207741460/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 44.86
-0.67 -1.47%
Volume: 33.20M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:02p
P/E Ratio
7.78
Dividend Yield
4.55%
Market Cap
$94.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
$479,167
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 98.35
-0.21 -0.21%
Volume: 20.12M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
13.25
Dividend Yield
3.66%
Market Cap
$300.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
$497,647
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203790192/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 25.13
+0.02 +0.08%
Volume: 115.15M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:03p
P/E Ratio
28.72
Dividend Yield
1.59%
Market Cap
$103.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
$392,114
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200894270/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 25.21
-0.14 -0.55%
Volume: 94.06M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
12.11
Dividend Yield
2.86%
Market Cap
$219.63 billion
Rev. per Employee
$543,289
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206227672/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 25.69
-0.40 -1.53%
Volume: 6.38M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
14.69
Dividend Yield
2.96%
Market Cap
$9.75 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.30M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.50
-0.42 -1.32%
Volume: 15.04M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
29.99
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$45.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
$849,994
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 7.23
-0.05 -0.69%
Volume: 71.93M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:02p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$28.96 billion
Rev. per Employee
$805,719
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205589013/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 3,370.00
-33.00 -0.97%
Volume: 2.20M
Sept. 18, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
15.90
Dividend Yield
3.86%
Market Cap
¥2396.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥25.43M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203020019/delayed
XE : Germany: Xetra
34.56
-0.81 -2.29%
Volume: 7,834
Sept. 18, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
6.23
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
€44.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
€456,254
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206172872/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 12.03
-0.24 -1.96%
Volume: 1.94M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
9.75
Dividend Yield
1.51%
Market Cap
$43.94 billion
Rev. per Employee
$703,264
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
97.42 p
-3.12 -3.10%
Volume: 72.68M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
£17.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 18.88
-0.68 -3.48%
Volume: 19.42M
Sept. 18, 2020 4:02p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
11.49%
Market Cap
$65.64 billion
Rev. per Employee
$4.03M
loading...
1 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Economy & Politics

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »
Link to MarketWatch's Slice.