Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Error of Big Government

Yesterday’s NY Times has an interesting article about the dangers inherent in recent efforts to mitigate the financial crisis:

Executives and lobbyists now flock to the Fed, providing elaborate presentations on why their niche industry should be eligible for Fed financing or easier lending terms.

Hertz, the rental car company, enlisted Stuart E. Eizenstat, a top economic policy official under Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, to plead with both Fed and Treasury officials to relax the terms on refinancing rental car fleets.

Lawmakers from Indiana, home to dozens of recreational-vehicle manufacturers like Gulfstream and Jayco, have been pushing for similar help for the makers of campers, trailers and mobile homes.

And when recreational boat dealers and vacation time-share promoters complained that they had been shut out of the credit markets, Senator Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida, weighed in on their behalf with the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, who promised he would take up the matter with the Fed. . . .

Read the whole thing.

Update, here’s the link.

Discussions - 15 Comments

Geez, Richard. Quit being so apocalyptic:

Fed officials say they, too, are uncomfortable with their new role and hope to end it as soon as credit markets return to normal.

No worries. Big Business lines too many pockets of our politicians for this to be too permanent or too democratic. The corporations that make the most money/political donations will come out okay, I promise. Hasn't this always been the case in the "free" market? I'm sure that our elected officials will easily hand off their new-found powers to the unelected wealthy few upon who our economy typically relies.

Oh wait. That's right. The Fed's not even a representative body of the government - just a bunch of old white businessmen appointed by private banks. So why are you worried again?

"The corporations that make the most money/political donations will come out okay." Does anyone think that's a good thing. What kind of narrow-minded, bigoted, contempt must someone have for defenders of the free market to believe they think that?

Sorry. I was practicing Lawler's comic book sociology.

It's Chicago politics writ large. Wasn't this exactly what most of us Conservatives anticipated? I know I sure as hell did. I expected Obama to bring in radicals and corrupt radicals, to make use of every single mechanism for securing financing and power. And that's exactly what they're doing, and they're only going to become all the more brazen about it, especially when the media declines to hold them accountable.

I don't think defenders of the free market think Matt's description, but it is an uphill battle arguing that our version of the 'free market' is not like that. Our current system is something new, but it never really has been a free market. It is not merchantalism because we manufacture goods in the slave nations not just mine resources. I don't really know what you would call our system.....just not free markets. Trying to sell this system off as a peculiar institution of the current regime is only denying history. Everyone was OK with it when they were making money and getting a little bit pregnet.

Then Chicago politics is rising everywhere. Yesterday I read Mark Steyn who begins with health-care, but is is speaking to this issue of growing the power of government and how that induces apathy in the population. Most people I speak with are just stunned by the health care proposal and everything the Obama administration is doing to extend their control. They are not apathetic, they are pathetically unsure as to what they could possibly do to prevent the onslaught.

Today, Mary Anastasia O'Grady looks at Argentina and what has already happened there under the Kirchner's. I remember someone on the front page bringing her up, with photos, because she was a hot middle-aged woman. O'Grady begins the article with In the wake of the country's 2002 economic collapse, the Argentine Congress gave the executive immense powers on the grounds that the circumstances called for extraordinary government action. What is frightening to me about reading that article is that I hear Americans insisting that our government ought to follow that route because it is only sensible for government to maintain and extend control - to save our liberties and keep us safe. Safe from who? It reminds of Hoover trying to save capitalism by regulating it, which system we have been complaining about ever since.

Steyn's article is a joke. Use a single example he read somewhere as representative of the entire British health care system, to create fear. Someone had to wait for a procedure and had to go to the bathroom a lot while waiting. No facts or details about the condition. No mention that the British health care system gets overwhelming support from the people. No mention that 98% of the health services are completely free. No mention that citizens can opt out or pay extra for elective services. No mention that only 4% of Brits report out-of-pocket health care costs exceeding one thousand dollars, while over 30% of americans report it. No mention that majorities of americans are demanding fundamental changes to our health care system - that is not apathy, that is a majority. No mention that in the U.S. your bathroom goer would probably go to the emergency room at triple the costs. I predict all sorts of med-fear to emerge in the next few weeks, rivaling the terror-fear of Cheney. The medical socialists will be described in such glowing and horrifying terms that only Chuck Norris can save us from their clutches.

The silver lining of Obama's emerging "statism" (which is motivated by: 1) ideology, 2) long-term electoral strategy, and 3)"stumbling into it" via our genuine emergency and the Dems' lack of strong governing principles) is that for at least a generation "LIBERALTARIANISM" is politically DEAD even if its cultural creep continues. The cry of the conservative big tent, and the Republican big tent, and even the anti-statist-save-us-oh-Blue-Dog-Dems big tent is now, out of sheer necessity: "Join, or die."

Kate, you could really do yourself a favor by extending your newspaper & magazine repertoire beyond the Wall Street Journal and National Review (and of course, NLT).

Craig, I read all sorts of things, those (these) are just my favorites. Just like you, I find prefer touting articles and authors with which I agree. Besides, when I cite those I stir extra comments.

ren, Steyn doesn't have to provide more examples as anyone who pays attention has heard or read plenty of negative examples of their own. I hear about Britain's National Health only in terms of disaster and pain. Friends at the Cleveland Clinic describe horror stories of people coming here to repair disasters from over there, (or Canada) caused by neglect since their system severely rations health care, as such a system would have to do here. How about this or this, or this and despite such problems caused by restricting service, they are over budget and will have to cut back. It is not free nor as comfy-cozy as you and others paint it. I am just briefly poking around the Internet, too, as I do not have time to dig. Yes, here you pay, but part of what you are paying is the shortfall hospitals and doctors have to cover because Medicare/Medicaid won't pay enough to cover costs. That's what government intervention in our health care system has given us. Why do we want more of their "help"?

Kate, if you want to read something that squarely challenges the premise of this very thread, try this - he has a column in the Wall Street Journal, if that makes you feel any better about the fact that I'm recommending his book.

our national government has been hollowed out under Republican conservative control, savaged into an ineffectual husk.

That is from a review describing that book and is a laugh. I think of Frank as comic relief at WSJ. Never mind. It is a point of view. It is not mine.

However, my favorite from the WSJ today is this one about thinking. I enjoyed it. We can argue about government under David Tucker's new post.

Kate, having spent some years working in the midst of the federal government in D.C., I can confirm the truth of the claim that it's been hollowed out, turned into an ineffectual husk. It might still suck unfathomable sums of money, but that's only one part of the story.

At least consider checking it out from your library (as I am doing with Hayward's hagiography of Reagan), that way you needn't feel bad about financially supporting the radical leftist from the WSJ.

Craig, did I imply I would not look into that book? I will get it from the local library; it will probably be on the shelf.

When I was a radical leftist, I was pressing for greater individual liberty and complained about the size of government. (Though mostly just the defense department, I confess.) Forty years later, Lo! Presto! I am a conservative and yet have much the same goal and desire for a lighter hand of government. What is the difference? Apparently, that I come to think the unborn are human and have the same rights as the rest of us. Yet, I would not have a government "effective" enough to force everyone to believe that, because I do not believe it could do that job. Secondarily, I think the nation's defense one of a republican government's only legitimate functions. Despite that, I still would not compel everyone to serve.

What you say means I am resenting the heavy husk of government. This is a funny idea and if true, was probably also true back when I was a leftist.

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