Verret Closes 2009 with Capitol Hill Visit

Professor J.W. Verret paid a year end visit to Capitol Hill on December 16, as he appeared along with consumer advocate Ralph Nader before the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy to discuss issues of taxpayer rights and government shareholding.

In his testimony, Verret told the subcommittee members that government ownership in private companies perverts the accountability of both government and business.

"To understand why, one must appreciate that government leaders and business leaders are held accountable by entirely different means," he said. "Governments are accountable to voters based on their ability to get re-elected by voters. Business leaders are held accountable by their ability to maximize profits for their shareholders. And the overwhelming majority of those profits for shareholders go to main street investors. Teachers, firefighters, policemen, and other working Americans depend on this mechanism to fund their retirements."

An additional inherent danger, said Verret, is that government shareholders that exercise control have sovereign immunity from liability, unlike their counterparts in the private sector.

Follow this link to obtain access to a webcast of the hearing, as well as the full text of Verret's testimony.