Horse-drawn carriages are absolutely indispensible to our economy and a significant percentage of American jobs are related to carriage manufacturing, including whip-makers, horse breeders, wheelwrights, tailors (for footman peopleguy uniforms), farmers (wheat and oats) and stable builders. And what would we do without street sweepers? Ankle deep in manure, I tell ya!
What would livery companies have done with a government bailout? How much longer would that technology have lasted with artificial subsidies by taxpayers, simply because they were too important or big or politically connected to fail?
Businesses must be allowed to fail or change or succeed. Layoffs are awful--having been through several, including a company closing, I know. Whole industries come and go and some only survive as niche markets where once they were dominant--livery and candles? You can still find them, but you don't run out to Walmart in your buggy to pick up more candles now do you?
When big companies go under, the economy will be affected in a big way. No doubt. But if the boneheads who run those companies can't figure out how to be competitive, then why should we rescue them? No company or even industry deserves an anti-fail guarantee. It's not in ANYONE'S best interests. Sure, some jobs and CEO perks may be retained in the short run, but over the long term, prices will increase, quality will decrease, and we'll keep paying more and more to prop up failing companies and/or industries.
What has happened that most Americans do not understand this? Makes me want to beat people over the head with big, thick economics books. (Not that doing that would get people to understand economics--it would just make me feel better.)
And yes, I know the answer to my question. Of course it would be lovely if lots of people understand basic economics. What's a bigger problem than this knowledge black hole is the loss of the qualities of industriousness, ingenuity, risk-taking, and confidence that used to be an integral part of the American culture. Maybe we're too frightened to fail. Certainly, we're deluding ourselves that our government, the proppers-up of industries and companies that should rise or fall on their own merits, is too big to fail.