As of this writing, President Obama and congress have reached agreement on a (allegedly) $789 billion “stimulus” package of spending and tax “cuts” (which includes people who pay no income taxes) and a mind boggling array of other items. The original stimulus bills were opposed in the House (where it passed) by every single Republican and in the Senate by all but three…the three defectors being enough to put the bill over the top for the Dems.
I’m hoping that the three defectors (Spector, Snow and Collins) join their colleagues, which will kill this catastrophic bill, thanks to Senate rules. This is a socialist trojan horse. For example, the provision to impose electronic record keeping on the medical industry may really be a mechanism for government rationing of health care (despite denials from the left-leaning American Medical Association), according to former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey.
Votes will be coming up soon. Not a single Republican should have any part in this, if they want to have any shred of principle to stand on going forward. When the details and true long-term inflationary costs of this thing become apparent, the whole blame will rest with the Dems. If the Repubs play the “bipartisan” game now, in their first test of opposition leadership, then it may be time for me to flee to independent voter status. I’m now as close as having the Party Affiliation Declaration Form sitting prominently on my desk.
This post places the above announcement in its true context, and describes what is at stake.
President Obama held a news conference on 2/9/09 to sell his abominable “stimulus” package. Just like the Bush “stimulus” bill of 2008, this one relies on an inverted premise…that consumption drives the economy. But as I said on 2/9/08…exactly one year prior to Obama’s press conference…
"In fact, consumption is not fundamentally a part of the economy at all. It is the goal and end result of the economy. Essentially, the "economy" is your production and that of every other participant. The economy is 100% production and trade, in that order."
The same logic and analogy of that post, entitled The Howell's Check is in the Mail, applies here.
But there is more to this year’s bill…namely, the ideology behind it. In an opening statement, the president said:
"It is absolutely true that we can't depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life."
What is the nature and source of those “resources”? It is the wealth created by the efforts of private, productive Americans, confiscated by government through taxation and inflation (artificial money creation and deficit spending).
In other words, it comes from the private sector…the same private sector that, he claims, is doomed without the “stimulus” of this fraudulent bill, which the private sector itself is funding. Obama pays lip service to the private sector, but that is just window dressing…a sop to those still wedded to that quaint notion of free markets. If, as he said, job creation and economic growth is “the role of the private sector”, then he would instead institute sharp reductions in the economy’s tax and regulatory burdens and, especially, the market-distorting government policies that “helped lead us to the crisis we face right now”.
But facts and historical lessons don’t concern Barack Obama.
We must, he demands, enact this [at the time] $850 billion bill now, because we face “the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression”. Without this bill, we “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe”.
Does this sound familiar? Barely four months ago, President Bush rammed through his infamous $750 billion bailout plan under the same premise-imminent economic catastrophe.
Another president, more double-speak, same old panic-mongering...and another $trillion of private wealth down the drain.
As bad as all of this is, there is a dangerous premise Obama is sneaking across here…that the earnings, property, and productive efforts of private Americans are a government “resource”, to be confiscated and redistributed according to the whims of Washington politicians and its pressure groups. That premise is the calling card of this Administration. Since productive work is the means by which people sustain their lives, Obama is declaring, in essence, that your life is a government resource.
What will “we” do with those “resources”? We will:
"direct investment in areas like health care, energy, education, and infrastructure,[and rebuild] our crumbling roads and bridges, [and] dangerously deficient dams and levees.
They'll be jobs building the wind turbines and solar panels and fuel-efficient cars that will lower our dependence on foreign oil and modernizing our costly health care system that will save us billions of dollars and countless lives.
They'll be jobs creating the 21st-century classrooms, libraries, and labs for millions of children across America."
All of this will be directed by a central bureaucracy beholden to politicians…which means, to special interests and lobbyists. Obama will reign in the lobbyists as promised in the campaign, you say? Think again! As Robert J. Samuelson wrote on 12/15/08:
"We here in Washington are anticipating a stampede of lobbyists, influence peddlers, media consultants, paid "experts" and self-styled crusaders. Who brought us this onslaught of special pleaders? Why, it's Barack Obama, the man who vowed to "change" how Washington works and banish from the political arena all those "special interests".
The only way to eliminate lobbying and special interests is to eliminate government. The more powerful government becomes, the more lobbying there will be. So, paradoxically, Obama's ambitions for more expansive government will promote special pleading. You need only watch the response to the expected "economic stimulus" plan -- totaling perhaps $700 billion -- to verify this eternal truth. "A Lobbying Frenzy for Federal Funds," headlined a Washington Post story."
And “more powerful government” is what he will bring us.
When investments are made by private individuals and companies, there is an objective standard by which the value of those investments are determined…the rational judgements of the customers of the products and services that those investments yield. The sum of those judgements represents “the market”. In a free market, investments in “wind turbines and solar panels and fuel-efficient cars” and the like must stand against all other alternatives, and sink or swim accordingly. Bad investments yield losses, and good ones bring rewards…to the producers.
With government “investment”, the only standard of “judgement” is political pull. And, unlike the free market where all transactions are voluntary, all of the “investment” proposed by the president must be paid for with money taken by force from private wealth producers. This means you…the government’s “resource”.
The president knows exactly what he is saying. By declaring that, in essence, the wealth of the nation belongs to government, he is laying the intellectual groundwork for the coming massive assault on what’s left of capitalism. As Samuelson writes, Obama has ambitious plans:
"There's more to come. Obama envisions refashioning a third of the economy: the health care sector, representing about 16 percent of gross domestic product; the energy sector, nearly 10 percent of GDP; and the financial sector (banks, securities brokers, insurance companies), about 8 percent of GDP."
“Refashioning” means, essentially, nationalizing those industries along fascist lines-which means, placing them under near total government control, while leaving nominal “ownership” in private hands.
Once this country started down the road to government-guaranteed material benefits…social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and the like…the logical trajectory of events had to lead to more and more government control of the means of production. The steady erosion of capitalism (our freedom) and the inexorable growth of the state is approaching the tipping point under the new Washington regime, where a president of the freest country in the history of the world can say, ignoring history and economic theory, “It is only government that can break the vicious cycle, where lost jobs lead to people spending less money, which leads to even more layoffs.” (Emphasis added.)
In his first inaugural address, President Ronald Reagan said, “We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around…”
Today we are approaching “the other way around”.
Do not ask for whom the bell of tyranny tolls. It tolls for every productive, self-reliant American.