‘Stimulus’: In the Long Run, We’re All Broke

The final draft of the by-this-point infamous economic stimulus bill has
been released to the public, and as even the infamously liberal New York Times
concedes, it’s
a mess
. Reading more like the poorly written term paper of a drunken
college student than an actual bill, the bill has been reportedly
marked repeatedly with under-the-radar last-minute changes, all written in the
untidy scrawl of overzealous legislators.

Unfortunately, unlike a marked-up essay, some of these untidy
scrawls will end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars and adding even
more unnecessary debt onto the bloated bill, which will already cost each
individual American family thousands
of dollars
.

Of course, all of this is due to the attempts by an overreaching president to capitalize
on the panic of the American people.
And the worst part is that, in the president’s rush to call the ghost of John Maynard Keynes back from the
ninth circle of Stagflation, he has willfully ignored
economic evidence
which could save the American people countless dollars,
and could provide simpler, but less politically convenient, restitution for the
economy.

As Joseph Welch once said to Senator Joe McCarthy, “At long last,
have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Granted, the Republican party hasn’t done much to stop this sort of thing — in fact, given the legacy of the past eight years, one might almost
characterize the current political climate as a sort of NASCAR race down the
Road to Serfdom. Indeed, some commentators have already characterized the
stimulus package as the Democratic
version of the PATRIOT Act
, and the comparison is an apt one. Whatever one
thinks of the USA PATRIOT Act, one can’t deny that absent panic, nothing nearly so
drastic could have even gotten past a committee in Congress.

However, unlike the PATRIOT Act, whose provisions arguably cast too
wide a net, but had at least some relation to the problem of terrorism, the
current stimulus bill contains provisions that have nothing to do with
stimulating the economy and everything to do with subjugating the American
wallet. Even The New
York Times
bemoaned the Trojan horse style of politics that created the
act, writing that the stimulus package “is
also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and
the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do.”

And how is this social contract to be rewritten, one might ask?
With nothing less than a full-throated condemnation of the needy to enjoy a
life of indentured servitude to the almighty government dole. Among the bill’s
more juicy effects, the Times notes that it “would allow states to
provide Medicaid to an entirely new group: those who are receiving unemployment
insurance benefits, their spouses and children under 19.” In other words, the government is permitting itself to swallow whole sectors of the private
economy, effectively stripping those who depend upon those sectors of any
feeling of self-reliance. Those who would be effected by this policy would now
effectively have a de facto mandate to vote for Democratic politicians, if only
to keep themselves from dying of illness, and indeed, politicians like President Obama would have no trouble
exploiting this.

And then, of course, there is the issue of the president’s
rhetorical inconsistencies. What happened to “Yes, we can”? If “we can,” then
why do we need a stimulus package that puts our grandchildren in debt, and why do we need to
extend statist excuses for failure to those currently in hard times.

President Obama’s supposed inspiration, John Maynard Keynes, once
wrote that “in the long run, we are all dead.” If only Keynes could be alive today to see the fruit of his labors. As economist
Daniel Mitchell points
out
, he’d probably be horrified, and rightly so. The only things that are certain in life are
death and taxes, and as such, in the long run we are not only all dead, but
thanks to “hope” and “change,” in the long run, we will all be broke.