The government is fiddling with executive compensation, which is bad, but perhaps understandable and defensible considering the various institutions involved were saved from death by the TARP funds. But on what principled basis are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citi excluded from the restrictions? And why would concern for excessive risk-taking demand lower base salaries as opposed to reduced or delayed bonuses. This is the biggest problem with government involvement in the economy of all kinds: it reduces our sense of what spheres should be beyond government control, it is driven by ignorant populism rather than concern for “systemic risk,” and it allows the government to pick winners and losers on the basis of factors like influence, favoritism, and political savvy.
This would be bad enough, but the Obama administration bullying its media critics, recently trying (unsucesfully) to exclude Fox News from a press conference and generally to delegitimize Obama’s most prominent critic. And, in recent months, Obama has notably singled out insurance companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and a lone Cambridge police officer for public ridicule, showing little sense of magnanimity of responsibility that should come with an office of such power.