Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Newest Deal

Lawrence Summers, tagged by Obama to head the National Economic Council, is showing his skill once again. Few can pack so many ignorant and destructive ideas into such a small space. In a woozy-minded editorial in the Washington Post he gives us ample reason to hang on tightly to our wallets over the next few years.

Among others, he gives us this opaque helpful warning:
[E]conomists across the political spectrum recognize that it is far less risky to stand firmly against the forces propelling our economy downward than to be timid in the face of a mounting crisis.
Er, right. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Unless perhaps it's the coming of Lawrence Summers. But rest assured, all will be well. The incoming administration intends to be very careful with our confiscated income public investments.
The president-elect has insisted that investments proposed in the recovery plan meet standards much higher than has been traditional. There will be no earmarks.

Investments will be chosen strategically based on what yields the highest rate of return for the economy and monitored closely not just by officials but also by the public as government becomes more transparent. We expect to evaluate and to be evaluated rigorously to ensure that Washington is held accountable for how tax dollars are spent.
Whew, that's a relief. Chosen strategically. Glad they're not going to be careless with all that cash. For a while there I feared they might throw billions down useless ratholes like, oh I don't know, 'green' jobs building dangerous and useless wind or solar power infrastructure. As people in hundreds of towns across the country scrape snow off their solar panels, I'm glad the pols will dodge that bullet. As some ranchers stand far away from their turbines lest the shooting icicles pierce an eye, we can be grateful Obama will choose to forego that option.

No, indeed. For our stolen invested trillion dollars we'll get:
Investments in an array of areas — including energy, education, infrastructure and health care — [that] offer the potential of extraordinarily high social returns while allowing our country to address some long-standing national challenges and put our economy on a solid footing for years to come.
Gotta love those "social returns" doncha know. Cuz, otherwise, you might be getting an actual financial return on your invested savings. How much better to get a warm glow by contributing to the public good than the petty little selfish satisfaction of increased personal wealth.

Perhaps you thought the President's team was going to waste taxpayer dollars on public works programs. Scoffer! What we'll really get is this: "The Obama plan represents not new public works but, rather, investments that will work for the American public."

You can rest easy knowing that "his economic team is crafting a broad proposal, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, to support the jobs and incomes essential for recovery while also making a down payment on our nation's long-term financial health."

They're crafting A Plan! Excellent. Good to have a plan. Otherwise we might wind up with that chaotic mess called the free market in which private individuals have the liberty to trade voluntarily. We all know what that led to... um... the 19th century when the population of Europe rose 300% (as opposed to 3% in all previous ones), when trains, electrical infrastructure, industrial steel and oil production, modern finance and agriculture, and thousands of other innovations useless things came into being by the efforts of free individuals.

Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles (Germany, Germany Above All!)... oh, sorry. Wrong song. For a minute there I thought the U.S. government was going to be led by Progressives Liberal Fascists FDR Jr. and his band of Newest Dealers. Silly me.

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