You can't have the government and eat it too!

Government is the favorite bashing topic for all ages. Nothing unites us more than our disapproval of their functioning (not talking about any political parties here but government in general). Recently there has been a lot of debate around the amount of regulation they should be responsible for. The fact that we are coming out of a nasty recession and obviously well needed bailout, this is hardly surprising. In the last decade, the popular opinion was to reduce the role of government in functioning of markets, corporations... It is understandable and to a large extent it actually worked. No reason it shouldn't work in future, provided we learn from our mistakes (and not wait to act till its too late). 


But here I ask a different question. I am not getting into the details of the extent of regulation needed but questioning the validity of the argument itself. A lot of us say - Government should stay out of the way. I have a feeling it is not fair to ask them to stay out. Especially when they are ultimately responsible to pay for the mess we create (whenever we do). You can't expect them to be ultimately responsible for the actions of corporations/markets/ sectors... and have no/minimal role to play in regulation. Also, you can't take that responsibility away from the Government. It is embedded in their role. 

Now what is bad (or what haunts us) is regulation interfering with growth. It's like having too many rules for safety and in the process losing the spirit of what you actually meant to do. I don't think increased regulation is a choice really, after what happened in the last few years. But what we really need is increased accountability of the government - like shareholders get to have in public companies. Both sides need to rise to the challenge. A big part of this is reducing the ambiguity of the dimensions on which accountability is measured. Its much more reasonable than asking (and expecting) the big guy to stay out.