Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

My Pet Crisis

Jerry Stratton, January 29, 2009

When President Bush reacted calmly at Emma E. Booker on September 11, I thought, this is how a president should act. It goes along with why I think debates suck. But to many people, remaining calm during a crisis and taking time to get the facts was a sign of indecision rather than reflection. Well, those folks now have their president. There’s no time to read the trillion dollars to see where it’s going nor to discuss whether it’s a stimulus package or a generational debt package, “we don't have a moment to spare”, “we can’t afford to wait”.

President Obama needs a Pet Goat moment. He—and congress—needs to take some time out to read. A trillion dollars of spending needs discussion. Someone is eventually going to need to pay this off. And much of it looks less like “stimulus” than the creation of new government programs that will continue to need more and more spending. It’s looking a lot like the earmarks he spoke out against, with the same problems: no discussion, no accountability, and lots of money.

A crisis is the worst time for committees to make quick decisions. There’s too much inertia towards doing the wrong thing. When a crisis happens, there’s a good chance we were doing something wrong to bring about the crisis. A panicked response will mean we continue doing the same things that brought us to the crisis. Such as spending money we can’t afford to fix the problem we created by spending money we couldn’t afford.

The “stimulus” plan appears to be, “we know we’re in a recession now and you don’t have enough money, so we’re going to make the money you do have worth less.”

If the Republicans had shown this backbone when they were in power, we wouldn’t be in this mess (and they might still be in power); hopefully they can remember this in the future. I'm inclined to agree with them here, though. First, we should not be borrowing this much money. Second, if we truly want to stimulate the economy we’d simplify our taxes and we’d get rid of the red tape that strangles new businesses—and new jobs. Third, if we do want to borrow money to “stimulate” the economy, it should be on things that only need to be done once rather than ongoing programs, and it should be spent on physical improvements rather than on political lobbyists. But we really just shouldn’t be borrowing this much money.

  1. <- Tax Experts Fail
  2. Tax Holiday ->