The Neocon legacy
by M. Stewart
I assume President Obama’s $800 billion economic recovery package will pass the Senate this week, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
The right wingers who frequent this site have a habit of calling me a leftist, but that’s only because they’ve been conditioned to see the world in high-contrast black and white. In fact, my amateur view of economics leads me to be suspicious of economic stimulation by government, and that alone pulls me in another direction.
Regulation and oversight—yes, those are appropriate roles for the federal government. But handing over billions of federal tax dollars to local politicians with the assumption that it will stimulate private enterprise doesn’t fill me with hope.
In the end, what do I know? I’m no economist. I assume, however, that those advising the president are. After all, the stimulus package might work; then again, it might not. I hope it does. But if it doesn’t, Obama surely will be a one-term messiah. This necronomy is not his mess, but he’s been hired to clean it up. He wanted the job; now he’s got it.
Before W. Bush left office, the federal government opened the treasury to greedy Wall Street bankers who not only ran their businesses and country into the ground, but also helped themselves to incredible personal bonuses. I thought it best to let the banks and the incompetent corporations like General Motors fail. My assumption is that the threat of failure is essential to capitalism. But I’m too old fashioned, too conservative.
The Bush administration’s weird brand of socialism and corporate welfare made me nauseous. Beyond that, there was the crazy check-cashing scam. You remember. Bush tried to stimulate the economy—not once but twice—by handing out checks directly to American citizens. This was money the federal government had to borrow from foreign investors.
Faux conservatives—the so called Neocons—like to scream about how Democrats tax and spend. At least the Dems like to have the money in hand before they spend it. Neocons prefer a model of complete fiscal irresponsibility. The Bush economic plan was to spend yourself into the largest federal deficits in history, sell the country off to foreign banks, let the rich run off with all the money, run the economy into the ground, retire to your estate, and then watch as your deluded followers heckle the Democrats as they try to clean up your mess.
It turned out that W couldn’t even buy votes for his party. If we average citizens ran our personal finances like George Bush ran the executive branch, we’d all be in jail.
I don’t know if it’s fair to compare macro-economics to one’s own personal finances, but it seems to me that the only significant difference is scale. In my own life, I try to keep it simple—that is, I don’t buy stuff I can’t afford. When times are tough, I tighten up and do what’s necessary to survive. I like to think that’s what most people do.
There was a time when I had no money, no job, no home. Trust me, looking into the abyss and deciding whether to jump is no place you want to be, but if you’ve been there and survived to tell the tale, you learn a lesson or two. Among them is that fear of failure is a great motivator. Pulling yourself up off the ground after you’ve been left for dead builds character and keeps you from taking anything for granted.
That’s pretty much where George W. Bush left us: on the ground and left for dead. I sure hope President Obama and the Democrats can help us recover from the crimes of the Bush-Cheney gang, but I’m not counting on it.
The way I've got it figured, we're pretty much on our own. That's the lesson of capitalism.