Karl Marx Communist Manifesto:"Our entire economy is in danger," President Bush alleged in his prime-time address last Wednesday. So endangered, in fact, that he urged us to commit it to a government running a deficit of almost $10 trillion and buying $800 toilet seats.
Plank # 5
Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and exclusive monopoly.
"Without immediate action by Congress,” Bush continued, “America could slip into a financial panic…”
The American people weren't buying it, so they flooded Congress with phone calls and emails telling their representatives to vote no on the bailout. The bill was rejected by the House, but passed by the Senate.
Today the bill passed in the House by a vote of 263-171.
Bush's ominous message of economic disaster is from the same man who swore Iraq had WMD’s. But let’s presume he’s told the truth this time – and let’s also presume he’s correct that “irresponsible actions by some [will] undermine the financial security of all."
In that case, our economy is already far more centralized than most Americans suspect. And this vote is an underscore to that centralization.
What exactly is an economy? Dictionaries define it as “the production and consumption of goods and services of a community regarded as a whole.” Each time you buy a donut, work for pay, or hire a babysitter, you participate in the economy. Billions of these transactions occur daily, some immense (buying a car, a house, a company), some so tiny only the taxman cares.
How can the failures of even the largest institutions affect all these exchanges? They can’t.
That’s part of the free market’s beauty. It’s unlikely many banks will simultaneously take the actions that lead to failure – unless the government compels them to. Which is precisely what it’s done for decades.
Any pundit or economist who claims otherwise, who blames the economy’s foundering on a lack of regulation rather than the government's stranglehold, is either a liar or a fool. We can cure him of his delusion real quick by dropping the Federal Register on his foot.
Not the entire Register, of course: goodness, we don’t want to permanently cripple anyone. We’ll use only those volumes listing financial regulations published this year. No doubt, while the doctor sets his broken bones, our chastened convert will agree that a laissez-faire philosophy is not the problem.
Meanwhile, absent regulatory compulsion, a bank that lends money to borrowers who can’t repay, or that invests depositors’ funds recklessly, deserves to fail: that’s how the market polices itself. If you’re not a shareholder or customer, the failure won’t directly affect you – again, unless the government steps in. When the State rescues monstrosities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – quasi-private firms the Feds established to do precisely what no private lender would: guarantee risky mortgages – it shifts the consequences of bad decisions from the politicians, regulators, and companies that made them to the country as a whole.
That’s the only way a few players in an enormous, complex, and diverse market can threaten the entire economy. In other words, Bush admits that the economy is already centralized, even before his ballyhooed bail-out.
That’s alarming enough, but it gets worse. Hand-in-hand with a centralized economy goes dictatorial government. You can’t have one without the other for a simple reason: no one willingly pays the penalty for someone else’s malfeasance. (Sure enough, Americans swamped Congress with phone calls and emails denouncing the bail-out.) Centralized economies require powerful politicians to force obedience as taxes skyrocket and blatantly biased laws protect the wealthy and powerful at everyone else’s expense.
So it shouldn’t surprise us that a provision in the original “Legislative Proposal for Treasury Authority to Purchase Mortgage-Related Assets” handed dictatorial power to one man – coincidentally, the bail-out’s author, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”
Negotiations over the weekend modified this outrage, but the bill still empowered Paulson beyond anything the Constitution remotely authorizes. And whatever plan Congress passed this week will no doubt include similar flexible language for our newly unelected economic czars.
Potent politicians, a centralized economy… Perhaps you’re reminded of other nations with repressive rulers and controlled economies that our grandparents fought in a worldwide war. Turning again to the dictionary, we find “fascism” defined as “any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism."
We’re already seeing the repression of some opposition. Both the Republican and Democratic conventions this summer sequestered protestors or even arrested them. Passengers who object to the abuse the Transportation Security Administration dishes out in airports have been denied boarding or “detained.” And the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of the United States’ Army is now “on call” here in the “homeland” to “help with civil unrest and crowd control.” Sounds as though the Feds plan to repress even more opposition, if not all of it.
That leaves only “extreme nationalism” for America to meet the definition of “fascist.” It’s tough to argue that a nation waging an unprovoked, unjustified war in Iraq while battling poppy farmers in Afghanistan and ginning up a third war against Iran is anything other than extremely nationalistic. Even Americans whom the government considers insufficiently loyal may suffer Federal fury. Officials have tried to strip some of our Moslem citizens of their livelihoods; they’ve shackled and beaten others.
Bush closed last Wednesday’s speech by saying, “History has shown that, in times of real trial, elected officials rise to the occasion.”
Yep. And that’s the problem.