Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bailout fever goes viral

Michelle Malkin notes that the state of Pennsylvania has secured $35 million in federal money to bail out the Boscov's regional department store chain:
Gov. Ed Rendell announced today that the state will direct $35 million of federal Housing and Urban Development money to Al Boscov and his family to help them purchase the bankrupt department store chain.
Rendell said the money will help Boscov secure the funds to complete the purchase in bankruptcy court.
Without the money, the department store chain may not be able to survive, he said. It has 39 stores and 9,000 employees in the mid-Atlantic region. Rendell said there are 25 stores and 5,000 employees in the state. Boscov's is based in Reading.
"It would be devastating in the state of Pennsylvania to lose Boscov's," he said.
This is economic idiocy of the first magnitude. If Boscov's can't compete with Macy's (or Costco or Wal-Mart), how is that any concern to federal taxpayers? Retail entities rise and fall routinely without governments lifting a finger, simply because retailing is so competitive and innovative, and consumer preferences are so fickle. The people who used to shop at Boscov's, but who now shop somewhere else, are not going to be lured back by anything that an injection of taxpayer millions can accomplish, and this is a perfect example of government pouring money down a rathole to no purpose.

At some point, people need to realize that businesses fail for a reason and that attempting to prop up failed enterprises is a waste of taxpayer resources. I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's description of liberal economic policy: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."

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