Sunday, February 08, 2009

 

Freedom

Restricting it is a priority for Progressives

One of them has even admitted it. Mary Katherine Ham quotes from John Kerry's floor speech in favor of Obama's stimulus plan:
I've supported many tax cuts over the years, and there are tax cuts in this proposal. But a tax cut is non-targeted.

If you put a tax cut into the hands of a business or family, there's no guarantee that they're going to invest that or invest it in America.

They're free to go invest anywhere that they want if they choose to invest.
Ham comments:
Indeed, people with their own hard-earned money in their own pockets are free to spend, save, invest, or not wherever they please. Kerry betrays the fear that haunts every good liberal— that the American people won't spend their money on exactly what good liberals would spend it on. Good liberals must, therefore, advocate for forcibly relieving the American people of the better part of a trillion dollars of their own money to fund things like STD education, welfare programs, and water parks.

Senators like Kerry have placed their own ideological desires over the right of the American people to a clean stimulus bill without the long-term spending even Obama himself admits is in it.
They sure have. With the Left in charge the more progress the country makes the less free we will be.

MORE: Wretchard notes that the economic meltdown of 2008 was in part caused by bad government policy. But that is an argument no politician will make. Instead, the Left sees the situation soley as an opportunity:
Ultimately it is an argument over whether the current economic crisis justifies the bureaucratic demand for more power over our money. The debate in Australia mirrors, on a smaller scale, the argument in America about the merits of Hope and Change in general and the stimulus package in particular. But the Costello piece also underscores the non-debate. Nobody wants to talk about which government policies got us into this problem in the first place. The conversation seems to be confined to ways in which government can get us out of it. And that is an incomplete analysis. To the extent that “political risk” — bad policies — got the world into this mess it makes sense that government must get us out of it. But it doesn’t automatically follow that anything government does will necessarily contribute to the solution. One of the ways government can “help” is to reform itself. That means an examination of the ways in which it contributed the “political risk” in the first place so that a good faith effort can be made to fix the problems.

Unfortunately, some politicians see the current crisis as an “opportunity” to push an agenda. They haven’t stopped to consider to what extent that agenda may exacerbate the very problems they are trying to solve. The WSJ captured the philosophy of the present administration in White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel’s remarks that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” Emmanuel subsequently proceeded to enumerate a list of social spending items some of which arguably sound like new versions of the same community housing spending which may have been one of the original “political risks” to start with. When asked whether the stimulus package had turned into a spending spree, President Obama acknowledged it with pride. “That’s the point. Seriously, that’s the point.”

But that’s not the point; not the point at all. And it’s a shame BHO doesn’t realize it and a greater shame if he does. The real question is whether current government solutions to the crisis contribute to political risk or reduce it. That means knowing what’s broke before applying the screwdriver to the screw.
Allahpundit notes the affect Democratic efforts to push the 'stimulus' package are having on the economy:
Instead of trying to calm the nation, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi have transformed themselves into Chicken Littles, abandoning FDR’s “All we have to fear is fear itself” in favor of “We’re all going to DIE!” Why? Their stimulus package keeps losing support, and only fear can propel it to passage, but that same hysteria has employers locking their doors, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of economic doom.

The proper salve for a lack of job creation would be an infusion of capital into the markets. The failure of businesses normally creates openings for small start-ups to take their place, or for innovators to find new solutions to new problems and bring them to market. The Obama administration should encourage capital to come to market by lowering the risk cost through cuts in the capital-gains tax rates, or eliminating them entirely, for the next four years.

That will create jobs and expand opportunity, and would balance the layoffs of firms that had shaky business models even before the latest financial crisis. In fact, that’s why the 2000-1 recession managed to absorb the dot-com bubble collapse as well as the 9/11 attack collapse so well. The Bush administration lowered taxes and kept capital working to create jobs. Instead, the Obama administration wants to re-create the WPA, digging ditches just to refill them later, and paying for it by eventually seizing the capital that could have created real, long-term employment.
But to the Democrats, that's progress.

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