PUT YOUR BET ON STUPIDITY
By Alan Caruba
From the day — August 15, 1971 — that President Richard Milhous Nixon took the nation off the gold standard, detaching the dollar from the enduring value of gold, America became a place where the dollar was worth whatever anyone thought it was worth. It’s a lot like those holiday and post-Christmas sales, where a sweater priced at $50 prior to the onslaught of the financial meltdown, was priced down to $15. Same sweater, different value. Two suits, one free was the offer of a local retailer.
As columnist Robert J. Samuelson recently wrote:
Samuelson cited Nixon’s imposition in 1971 of wage and price controls, in part, to prevent inflation from jeopardizing his reelection.
President James Earl Carter was an even greater disaster while he occupied the Oval Office. His administration imposed credit controls to squelch the raging inflation from the Nixon administration.
Like the incoming President-elect, Carter hated the oil industry, imposing a “windfall profits” tax on it. And he even had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. The result was to severely impact our domestic oil industry in ways that has rendered the U.S. more independent than before on foreign oil. When President Ronald Wilson Reagan took office, he cut taxes and instituted spending restraints. He also had the solar panels removed.
So where are we today? In October, 2008, at the end of the budget year, the Congressional Budget Office released its latest estimates, concluding that a record $438 billion deficit had been racked up by Congress, fully $25 billion more than for fiscal 2004. The office anticipated that President-elect Barack Hussein Obama will have to scale back campaign pledges because he will inherit a likely deficit for 2009 that will exceed $500 billion.
At this point, we are virtually talking about Monopoly money and make believe houses and hotels. Some people like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, among others, should be on their way to jail for misleading the American people regarding the insane practices of the quasi-governmental entities, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
To give you another idea of how deeply in debt the nation is, the Congressional Research Service recently revealed that the total value of the bailouts undertaken by the federal government in 2008 exceeded the combined cost of every major war the United States has ever fought!
In November, 2008, the Cato Institute released a report by Lawrence H. White, a distinguished professor of economics, an author of The Theory of Monetary Institutions, among other books. How Did We Get into this Financial Mess? was the rather blunt title of the report. The brief answer is that our government, Congress, the White House, the Federal Reserve, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, thanks to misguided policies and sometimes flagrantly bad practices, are responsible for the mess.
Got that? Idiots and liars running our government have managed to plunge Americans into the onset of a recession that could turn into a full-fledged depression. And, dear reader, it just gets worse because all the failed policies of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt era are being touted as the answer to our present debacle.
Such steps as have been taken thus far, the dumping of billions into various banks and insurance companies without a scintilla of transparency or the demand to know what they were doing with the money, quelled the growing panic, but Congress is backing away from more of the same.
At least in Great Britain, the government insisted the money transfer came with the demand that their banks actually lend it. So far, our banks have used the money to buy other banks. As to their lending practices, no one in government seems to have any oversight, despite the fact that it is our public funds that have been placed at their disposal.
The notion that the federal government should bailout Detroit’s auto industry is too crazy for words. If one takes the United Auto Workers out of the equation, the normal course of events for a failing business is to put it into bankruptcy, reorganize it, and see if it can return to profitability. If it can’t, it is allowed to fail.
Indeed, stupidity or just indifference was the order of the day when the head of the Security and Exchange Commission had to admit his agency had paid scant attention to complaints about the hedge fund run by Bernard Madoff, whose losses are estimated to be fifty billion.
The cliché is that you get the government you deserve and Americans have been blissfully and ignorantly voting most incumbents back into office for years. In Pennsylvania, after calling his constituents “rednecks” and “racists”, John Murtha, was returned to office.
So, if you are calculating the odds that the White House and Congress will find a sensible, measured, and responsible way to cure the current financial crisis, the smart money is on zero.
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
Caruba has a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.
Caruba’s most recent book, Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy, has been published by Merril Press. Books previously authored by Caruba include A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam, The United Nations Versus the United States: The UN's Plan to Control Planet Earth, and America: A Nation Without Borders -- A Pocket Guide to Immigration Issues.
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