My quick answer is: NO!
My flippant answer is: you can trust government only to do things the wrong way.
My honest answer is: yes, you can trust government… it is the only thing that separates society from chaos… but you cannot trust the politicians and bureaucrats who run government.
During our financial crisis, the leaders of Congress determined (in their infinite wisdom) that a company named AIG was “too big to allow to fail”. Now, part of the reason this company was in trouble was poor management of their risks… and, if they made bad management decisions, then I believe they should be allowed to fail… and part of why they have troubles is they got heavily involved in financial activities revolving around “bad assets” such as the sub-prime home mortgage loans ENCOURAGED by Congress. One big supporter of AIG is Senator Chris Dodd. He (along with Barney Frank) was also a BIG supporter of programs that pushed lending institutions to extend home loans to people who were not very likely to be able to repay those loans. Interestingly, AIG was also a big supporter of Chris Dodd… contributing large sums to his campaigns. How cozy!
So, Senator Dodd helps put in place a stupid business situation where bad loans would someday “come home to roost”… and then had to “come to the rescue” when a company floundered, in part, because of those loans. Convenient. And THEN, after the company accepted supporting funds from the government, it is discovered that pre-existing employment agreements would give millions in bonuses to AIG executives… and, to nobody’s surprise, there is a huge public outcry. How can this company give bonuses when they took public money?
Dodd and our brilliant Congress didn’t think to look at such details before providing billions of dollars of public financial support to AIG… no, that would make too much sense. After the discovery and public embarrassment, Dodd is now trying to figure out how to break those contracts… even floating the idea of a special tax just for those AIG execs who received bonuses! It seems that our Congress seldom thinks things through and repeatedly have to go back and clean up messes they create.
So, Congress was too stupid to figure out that giving bad loans was a bad idea in the first place. Then they were stupid to think they should “save” a public company. Then they were too stupid to think of all the conditions they wanted before giving money to the company. And then they were stupid enough to think they could just break pre-existing contracts AFTER THE FACT. And finally, they are so stupid they want to start passing laws targeting individual people for doing something that was entirely legal in the first place! Sure, Congress could have “motivated” AIG to rescind these bonus agreements as a condition of getting their support… and probably should have done so… but they didn’t.
All of which really means we could end up at any time with legal action by Congress when they do not like something you or I do… they’ll pass a law specifically targeting individual citizens who did nothing illegal. How crazy is that?
More important, how Constitutional is that? Do members of our Congress even READ our Constitution? Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
You can trust the government to try to change the rules if it helps support their position of power and strength.
During all this, Congress has spoken out loudly about the high pay of executives in the financial industry… even those who have accepted no “bail out money”… and exerted limits over those who have accepted public funds. So, Congress now knows how to best compensate people! (Watch where the brain power goes after a few years of such restrictions… the smart people will find better opportunities… and companies with compensation caps will soon be run by the STUPIDEST people.) In the meantime, Congress continues to GRANT ITSELF automatic pay raises.
Lately, Bernard Madoff has been in the news for perpetrating the largest financial Ponzi scheme in history… taking money from new investors to pay returns to old investors until that house of cards came tumbling down.
All while our federal government has been doing the same thing for decades… but they call it Social Security.
You can trust the government to mandate one thing for the public and do the opposite for itself.
We can trust the government to spend money they don’t have, to tax us more, and make it all appear that taking more of our money is to help US… when, in fact, it is nothing but a power grab… providing government benefits to their supporters while taking money from others in order to pay for it.
WE are funding our own demise.