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Affluent Investor | June 26, 2017

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Cavuto And Bowyer On Barra, GM, DC, And Responsibility

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In hearings before congress about a series of component failures which are reported to have contributed to the deaths of 13 people, Barra repeatedly said that she takes responsibility for the problem and then went on to refuse to answer any substantive questions about the problem. It seems like another Inigo Montoya Moment: “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Just to be clear, the word ‘responsibility’ comes from the Latin respons, which you don’t have to be a classics major to suspect means something about responding to questions. Sure, there’s an inquiry, but hiding behind it is a classic PR manipulation tool. Inquiries are supposed to be about getting answers that you don’t currently have, not about giving an excuse for not giving the answers you already do have until the story loses momentum.

It’s as old as human nature. Confronted after having stolen and eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam’s defense was pure blame shifting: “The woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit and I did eat.” So, I suppose it’s not surprise that a CEO of a company with blood on its hands would look for a fig leaf to hide behind.

But before we turn to DC to solve the problem, we should note that they seem to have been a contributor to the problem. Loose tort laws incentivize companies to hide mistakes. And don’t forgot that during much of this time the government was the largest owner of GM under the Bush/’Bama bailout/nationalization. A politicized NHTSA averted its gaze from the unionized/government-favored domestic company, while throwing the book at non-unionized, foreign-owned Toyota… and bragging about it.

No, it is the entire ruling class which has failed to take responsibility. It’s time to turn away from crony capitalism and capital cronyism and distribute power in such a way in which leaders have to actually live with the consequences of their decisions, and when they fail to, actually have to give an answer.

To watch my discussion with Neil Cavuto, click here.

 

Article originally published on Forbes.com.

Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.

Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.

Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.

Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.

Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.

Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest five of their seven children.

 

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