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Time, Price Will Save Us


But the government has to let them.

The current consensus (to the extent that such a thing can exist) is that our ailing financial system requires immediate action. A few days back, President Obama warned of the "catastrophic" consequences if we refuse to "immediately" pass the embarrassing, pork-laden American Recovery Act that Congress has approved.

Other than asking the new President what he thinks of the current state of affairs (if this ain't a disaster, what is?), we all really need to understand how the government's new plan is going to help.

Defenders of the plan ignore the billions being spent on "necessities" such as refurbishing federal buildings, throwing money at the rolling disaster known as Amtrak, or even half a billion for new energy efficient cars for government employees. You can't make this stuff up - read the bill!

Instead, they focus on the need to restore confidence to arrest the rapidly deteriorating employment picture. In short, they claim that this stimulus bill will "rekindle" the animal spirits required to get our country humming again.

The defenders of this bill are correct about animal spirits, but wrong about which animal spirits they're awakening. This bill is nothing short of an announcement of the government's staying power, and how this insititution -- which is designed to serve us -- has every intention of serving itself. Make no mistake, the animal is alive and well in Washington, DC, and it's ready to roar.

I understand that we don't do acrimony in the 'Ville. With all due respect to that premise, was I the only one a bit concerned that Tom Daschle is making several million a year doing speaking engagements and consulting work? And that if this guy had simply paid his taxes (to be fair, according to Harry Reid, paying taxes is voluntary - seriously), he would be Commerce Secretary and in one of the most powerful positions in US business?

This makes Chuck Schumer's favored Countrywide loan terms look like child's play, to say nothing of John Thain's commode. And these are the folks qualified to pass judgment on the Dick Fulds and Jimmy Caynes of the world? Say this for Cayne and Fuld: They were engaged in a business where everyone knows the goal is to get rich. I always thought of the government as a different type of entity, but perhaps I am naïve.

No, this is something far bigger at work here - something that extends far beyond the traditional battleground of free-market Small Government Republicans versus we-know-better Big Government Democrats.

The government itself is seizing the opportunity to put its imprint on the social and economic fabric of everything we do. People are in positions of power, and intend to stay there. In the private sector, if you screw up, you get replaced. What about Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank? How much did Barney's gambit with Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) cost us taxpayers? These people aren't going anywhere. We work for them now.
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