Ron Morley's Freedom Blog

This is the place where I do my little bit to explain the evils of the State.

Why the Delay?

President Obama, after spending the better part of the last month insisting that his so-called economic stimulus package be passed immediately (maintaining that failure to do so would spell utter ruin for the country), is going to wait until tomorrow to sign the bill, which was passed last Friday. The fact that the President has delayed signing the bill puts the lie to the supposed emergency conditions that required the immediate passage of the bill. Remember, this is a bill that the Statists consider to be so important that time could not be spent debating any of its multitude of provisions or even whether or not it was necessary. The President repeatedly went on radio and television and spoke before live audiences berating Republicans, and others, for daring to ask what is in it, who is going to reap the benefits of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being spent, and trying to make modifications that might actually help the economy, such as including more tax cuts in it and cutting back on the actual spending that the President proposed. We were told many times during the last three weeks or so that passage of this bill was imperative; that every minute that was taken before passage meant that more American jobs were lost, more homes were foreclosed, and more damage was being done to the very fabric of the American economy itself. Now that the bill has been passed and the spending of the hundreds of billions of dollars is assured, the sense of urgency has, apparently, vanished.

One must ask, why is this? Why is delay acceptable now, but not during the time leading up to the passage of this incredibly wasteful, and damaging, piece of legislation? Why are not the President's supporters camped outside the Oval Office chanting, “Sign that bill, save our jobs, spend that money” at the top of their voices? The simple fact is that, as with the TARP bailout bill that was rushed through under similar conditions of feigned urgency last October, those who backed the bill understand full well that a delay of even several months would not make a significant difference to the overall effect on the American economy in the long run. The American economy is too large to quickly change direction, either up or down. It has taken months, if not years, for the effects of the collapse of the housing bubble, which actually began in late 2006/early 2007 to reach the point they have. It will take equally as long, if not longer, for the many malinvestments that were made, in large part because of mis-guided policies of the Federal government, to be corrected so that the assets involved can be put to good use and the economy can resume growing. The only reason that the Keynesian economists and statist politicians painted such a dire picture was to panic the American people, many of whom are woefully ignorant regarding economics, into demanding that “something be done” to forestall the looming disaster which supposedly threatened to engulf mom, apple pie, and all that is good. Politicians know from long practice that the best way to get what they want, in this case more power over the economy for the Federal government, is to evoke a sense of urgency around whatever their current issue is. The result is that, between the actions made possible by the TARP bill, loans of billions of dollars to the Detroit automakers, and, now, the economic stimulus package, the power of the State to intervene in the United States economy has grown tremendously. Large parts of the financial and manufacturing segments of the economy are now effectively nationalized, though most Americans don't realize it because that term is never used.

Instead, we are told that “bridge loans” have been made to the automakers so that they can go on to “financial viability”. "Equity stakes" are taken in large and important financial institutions. New regulations are called for so that “this will never happen again.” Trillions of dollars are pumped into the banking system by the Federal Reserve in an attempt to “get the credit markets moving again.” Executives of businesses which have taken Federal money are now told how much they may be paid instead of having their wages set by voluntary negotiations and market forces. The strings that are attached to the billions of dollars about to be spent as part of the economic stimulus package are presented as the means of “making sure the taxpayers' money is well spent.” In other countries these actions are called “forced nationalization” (as was the case when Venezuela took over oil fields and other assets owned by foreign oil companies). In other countries the proliferation of new regulations is called authoritarianism. In other countries if the government sets maximum wages it is seen as socialism or communism. In other countries when the central government decides how money must be spent and who the winners and losers are in the marketplace it is called “central planning.” Something must be different about the United States when the same actions are called by other names and the motives of those who back the new powers of the State are automatically assumed to be pure and benign. It's probably something in the air that ensures that the United States' government would never, ever, do anything but good.

As always when dealing with politicians it is more important to pay attention to what they do, than to what they say. Actions do, indeed, speak louder than words and President Obama's delay in signing his much ballyhooed and supposedly vital “economic stimulus” bill reveals that he knew all along that his story was a tissue of lies and distortions. The American people have, again, allowed themselves to be duped into giving up more of their freedom in the mistaken belief that the State will keep them “safe”; this time from “economic turmoil.” There is precious little real freedom left in this nation, as most citizens will discover when they wake up one day to find that the State has decided how much they are allowed to earn, how much of some good they may purchase at the local market, how limited their choices of domestically manufactured motor vehicles (and the options on those which are available) are, and what doctors they may see and what treatments they may be offered, among other things. Americans have forgotten, if indeed most of them ever stopped to realize, that a State which can “give” them everything also has the power to take those things away. Liberty may not guarantee that everyone can have everything they might desire, but it does guarantee that what they do get they will be allowed to keep.