A TIME FOR TRUTH by William E. Simon


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Former Treasury Secretary Simon draws upon his Washington experiences to make a case against government encroachment not only upon business but also upon private citizens. In his view, the putative protection of a cradle-to-grave security system could lead to dictatorial oppression. Already, he notes, many federal agencies have ""no-knock"" police powers. OSHA, for instance, can send inspectors into any American office or factory without a search warrant. Anyhow, Simon observes, planners' attempts to oversee every last detail of the domestic economy don't work. In proof, he offers a standard catalog of entertaining outrages (men's rooms the equal of women's) and the no-longer startling revelation that much of the federal welfare dollar subsidizes the middle class instead of helping the poor. More serious is the failure of the oil industry--answerable to as many as 55 regulatory bodies--to make worthwhile progress toward alleviating the nation's energy crisis. Simon recommends keeping faith with ""the vulgar democracy of the free market"" where one dollar equals one vote and individuals largely look after themselves. He is impartial, however, in fixing blame. Businessmen who seek short-term advantages from government to escape the rigors of competition are, in his view, as guilty of encouraging the expansion of an authoritarian state as ""elitists"" practicing the ""new despotism"" of centralized control that picks consumers' pockets by adding regulatory costs to the price of goods and services. A prescriptive diagnosis of the body politic that complements Irving Kristol's more theoretical Two Cheers for Capitalism (p. 156).

Pub Date: April 27th, 1978
Publisher: Readers Digest Press - dist. by McGraw-Hill