Stimulating ourselves to death

Crisis coddling

Fairfield County Weekly
by Phil Maymin

Despite rising unemployment, massive layoffs and a stock market that has lost half of its value from its peak, we are not in a crisis. There is no banking crisis, no financial crisis, no economic crisis. Why not? Because we have no decision to make. A bad situation is only a crisis if making the wrong decision can be fatal, and there is a chance of making the right one. Surely, a recession is a bad situation, but where is the debate about possible decisions? There can be no crisis without even a possibility of massively shrinking government. Who is proposing less government involvement? Who is pointing out that the problems were caused by too much government, too many regulations, too burdensome taxes, too powerful federal agencies? We are seeing more of the same... (for publication 03/19/09)


Stimulating ourselves to death

by Veronique de Rugy

Barack Obama says his ‘unprecedented’ economic stimulus package will not merely be ‘a short-term program to boost employment.’ No, it ‘will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care; and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.’ The massive cost of the stimulus doubled even before any legislation was written, much less approved. Originally tagged at $400 billion, the proposal quickly jumped to $825 billion, and latest estimates at press time have it costing north of $1 trillion (comprised of 60 percent spending and 40 percent tax cuts). Given the size, will the stimulus work as advertised? Will the goods and services — be they concrete for new highway projects or groceries for hungry families — pump up flagging demand and boost stalled economic activity? If so, it will be the first time in modern recorded history... (for publication 04/09)


In defense of distrust in government

Cato Institute
by Gene Healy


President Barack Obama declared in his inaugural address that ‘our patchwork heritage is a strength’ because people of all backgrounds and creeds had come together to make America great. But there was one group, Obama suggested, that wasn’t quite welcome in the American family: the ‘cynics,’ those miserable killjoys who dare to ‘question the scale of [the federal government’s] ambitions.’ There, Obama echoed his 2008 opponent, John McCain, who has repeatedly warned that there’s a specter haunting our country, in the form of a ‘pervasive public cynicism’ toward government. ‘Cynicism’ is a scare word, meant to discredit those who cast a skeptical eye on politicians’ grand designs. But Obama and McCain are right that distrust of government is on the rise...


Let freedom do it

Freedom Politics
by Steven Greenhut


Those of us who advocate freedom and capitalism run up against a difficult problem. Even though these ideas, hampered as they have always been by government intervention, have led to all the good things people say they want (wealth, justice, progress, personal liberty, etc.), they haven’t got a prayer against the grandiose promises of those who prefer the alternate route of command and control. Government promises to protect us, feed us, comfort us, instruct us and make life fair. Freedom promises nothing more than the ability to pursue one’s dreams as one chooses. There’s no promise of utopia in such a system, but the results of leaving people free to their own devices tend to be pretty good, on balance. The utopian systems are the ones where you find the concentration camps and dungeons, despite the flowery rhetoric...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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