February 12, 2009
Government overreach isn't stimulatingBy Jeffrey A. Rendall
Ring, ring, ring, rrrriiinnnggg.
That's the sound of calls raging out of control in the US Capitol these days, which even liberals admit are flowing in at almost 1000 to 1 against the Obama/Pelosi stimulus bill. The public's discontent is coming so fast and furious that Capitol switchboards are clogged, and our Representatives' and Senators' office staffs are stretched to the breaking point trying to accomplish what they're paid to do -- respond to We the People.
It's a scene not unlike the conservative populist revolt in 2007 against the Bush Amnesty Bill -- which was a rare victory for grassroots citizens over our arrogant government keepers. Then, like now, politicians who portend to know better than us uninformed yokels were just a few votes shy of forcing a disastrously ill-considered immigration ‘reform' glob down our collective throats.
And with this stimulus package they're seeking to do it again, led by our new president who campaigned based on "hope" and "change you can believe in." Barack Obama's notion of change has proven to be anything but -- a bloated, pork-filled spending orgy that only politicians and lobbyists would love. The American people aren't buying it despite Obama's best efforts to smooth over the rough spots, which are so pervasive that we're all experiencing a severe case of legislative motion-sickness.
Yes, signs indicate that our economy is faltering, with more businesses failing, people filing for unemployment and those who still have jobs working overtime to clear debt and save for the future. The recent drive to conserve personal wealth is something we should've been doing all along, long-range planning for the difficult times and protection against the realities that are hitting so many very hard today.
Democrats didn't help in the matter by demanding that banks loosen lending standards so more people would be given the opportunity to default on mortgages that they could not afford in the first place. Americans jumped at the chance to purchase homes with the belief (and hope) that tomorrow would be better, and when those bets turned sour, the bubble burst.
Somewhere along the line recklessness replaced prudence, and the bill collectors are now pounding on the door -- and our lives in the fast lane were being steered all along by those government ‘leaders' who should have been warning of the roadblock ahead.
Obama and the Democrats' solution is to dump unfathomable amounts of borrowed cash on the problem -- all the while paying off traditional Democratic constituencies such as ACORN, environmentalists and big unions, in addition to bailing out the most irresponsible states with tens of billions dedicated to paying their Medicaid bills.
How is paying a state's existing liabilities going to stimulate anything?
The truth is, government can never grow us out of a recession because it cannot possibly generate enough economic activity to solve a system-wide ailment. FDR's New Deal demonstrated that government is ill-equipped to assess macro-economic problems, and even more powerless to effectively allocate resources to deal with them. Japan tried to spend its way out of a recession in the 90's, only to make mistakes that will take decades to fix.
The only thing that results from this money-dumping philosophy is a legacy of debt and a generation of politicians who will use the excuse "we felt like we needed to do something to help."
Government can't create enough jobs to employ everyone, and it shouldn't even try. We don't send representatives to congress or elect a president to dream up new and better ways to redistribute our income to achieve universal employment. Most people are willing to help those who are temporarily down on their luck, but the last thing we want is to create another permanent underclass of those who feel entitled to a minimum standard of living.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it declare that it's the duty of the president and Congress to find work for the jobless. The Founding Fathers could never have anticipated the extent to which our representatives are intervening to ‘save' us now -- and it's not as if the concept of economic slowdowns is a new phenomenon.
In the old days economic slumps were called panics, which is certainly apropos to the current leadership. They're using fear to cause a panic amongst the population, and unfortunately, it seems to be working.
The only thing government can do to help is enact policies to promote free-market, private enterprise conditions to allow business-owners to do what they do best: grow their businesses and provide opportunities for others to share in their good fortune. It's true, people often go into business solely for their own selfish interests, and their pursuit of wealth is often used to satisfy personal desires.
That's called living free, no matter how badly the liberal media wants us to believe that successful individuals' goals are heartless and cruel.
But it's also helpful to remember that no one ever got rich by toiling on his own, and no one ever was offered a job from a poor person. Instead of all these weak-kneed pundits wishing President Obama well in his pursuit of socialism, they'd be much better served through cheering the triumph of business owners small and large who truly do the work of this country.
If given the chance, our people would respond to the challenge as they have during every other crisis in history -- with a sense of purpose and can-do confidence that is the credo of being Americans. Government can ‘stimulate' us the most by allowing us the freedom to live and work with as little interference as possible -- and all our problems will ultimately take care of themselves.