Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catastrophe? Sez who?

Last night:

He (President Obama) pointed to such scenes as proof the country is in a "full-blown crisis" and needs a drastic government response. The president warned that a failure to act could "turn a crisis into a catastrophe," and urged lawmakers to get a bill to his desk without delay.

How often have you heard this? "There's not a moment to spare!" Or, "This deal is only good for today, so you must buy now!" I'm guessing that you, like me, have heard these high pressure sales tactics often enough that alarms go off in your head warning you that you are getting a bad deal forced upon you. It's a well known sales tactic to push hard for the close of the sale before the mark (you!) gets wise to what's going on. After a few times through this maneuver, you learn to just go home and think about it for a few days. In most cases you realize that the person urging you to rush to a decision has a vested interest in making the sale, whether it be a cash commission or some other compensation. You must ultimately base your final decision on the credibility of the person making the argument that time is of the essence.

Let's think about that question of credibility with regards to our young neophyte president. In other words, why should we believe his words of impending doom? Think back to the campaign promises that were made, and then think of the more recent past where we have seen each and every one of those promises tested against reality and found wanting. Seriously, I have seen New Years resolutions last longer than the promises that Obama made to us. Does this young man, this man that was so wrong about the war ("It's lost! Let's bring the troops home. Genocide isn't that big of a deal, just as long as you aren't the victims of it."), this man that has already proven his demagoguery about Gitmo, FISA, renditions, and other purported Bush malfeasance to be exactly what I suspect that it was: nothing more than disingenuous, opportunistic campaign rhetoric, does this man have the credibility to demand a trillion dollars NOW! and expect us to trust his word?

"Fine," you might say, "but this is different. The campaign is over, he won, so why would he lie about this?" Well, I've often heard an expression that I think provides a solid hint to a motive: "Follow the money." Look at the spending earmarks (I suppose they will have a name other than 'earmark', though, since we were promised that there would be no earmarks in this bill. This reminds me of another expression regarding things that quack like ducks...) in the proposed bill, and look at the timing for spending the funds. You will find massive handouts to Democratic pet causes (i.e. locked in voting groups) such as the service unions, education unions, and non-taxpayers looking for enrichment via massive entitlements. The timing of the spending conveniently runs through 2010, 2011, and 2012. Quick question: what happens in 2012 that might interest President Obama?

So there it is. We are being stampeded into spending a trillion or more dollars to create the false impression of a good economy that will last just long enough to aid with Obama's election to a second term. After that the money runs out and we're stuck with paying the piper, but because of term limits Obama couldn't care less about that. This "stimulus" is nothing more than the taxpayer funded aggrandizement of Barack Obama as our Savior, with (to him and his fellow travelers) the salutary effect of also pushing us permanently into the European model of a second rate Socialist country where the super majority of the citizenry is entirely dependent on a gigantic government to provide a subsistence level standard of living. The minority? They get to pay for it all with their hard work, only to find their own standard of living dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

Joe the Plumber tried to warn us, but 53% of us would not listen. I understand why, of course. The alternative, John McCain, was an abysmally bad candidate. It's possible, though, that he might have stood up to our ridiculously bad congress and forced them to create a better package, but I doubt it. Our government seems that it may have reached a tipping point where both parties and all four branches (I include the press as a branch of government now) are complicit in this massive new power grab.

Why would they do this? Simple. Follow the money. Oh, and consider one further Obama comment:

"Only government can save us." Isn't that somewhat (or, well, a whole lot) ironic when you consider that it was government that created this mess? When you consider that the power we've given to government to regulate the financial industries involved came with the responsibility to avoid this type of so-called catastrophe?

Yeah, I find that to be painfully ironic.

So, you're no doubt asking yourselves what can be done? Clearly there is at least some kind of problem here, and government simply has to do something. Well, why couldn't we try a lower risk/higher gain plan first:

Rep. Walt Minnick, a freshman Democrat from Idaho, is pushing a better idea: The Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act (START).

Minnick is a member of the Blue Dog caucus of occasionally conservative Democrats. His START plan is a $170 billion “bare bones” pure stimulus approach that would put $100 billion immediately into the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans, then use the other $70 billion for basic infrastructure projects that create jobs. START requires that all funds not spent by 2010 be returned to the Treasury. START also stops stimulus spending when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product increases in two of three previous quarters, and all START payments are required to be posted on a public website.

Doesn't that sound like a far better idea? An idea that better addresses the actual problem and has an exit clause if it actually succeeds in solving the problem? Sure it does. But the critical flaw, the single reason that it will go nowhere, is that it does nothing to help grow Obama's government. In other words, it doesn't address the issue most important to Obama and the Democratic majority congress: keeping them in their jobs.