29 September 2008

Lurching Toward Statism

A crisis is a great way to enact rapid change. The current financial crisis is being used as a vehicle to enact statist legislation disguised as a rescue.

According to the Heritage Foundation, and found at many other sites, the compromise solution which Congress will vote on today allows for the federal government “to purchase those assets from local governments, pension funds, and small banks that serve low- and middle-income families.” This one provision would make federal intervention at all levels of government and commerce permissible, and attractive.

But the electorate shouldn’t worry about that. It’s in the name of “low- and middle-income” Americans, so it must be for the greater good. The emotional appeal is akin to the tired slogan “it’s for the children”. Under this guise – helping out the little guy in America – this bailout bill has grown from three pages to over 100 (as of Friday). The size of the bill today is, to my knowledge, unknown. Surely most members of Congress will have not have read the bill before voting on it.

But it’s an emergency, we’re told. Everything could melt down, we’re told. Something ginormous must be done immediately, we’re told. And in the end, something ginormous will be done. And our federal government will be more deeply embedded in our everyday lives, in our finances and our mortgages, in our banks and lending institutions. And once the panic has been averted, even if only for a relatively short time, the hands of Washington will pat their own backs and congratulate selves. And we will have moved further from a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and closer to a people of the government, by the government, and for the government.

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