Who Are We Stimulating?

How does $800,000,000,000.00 sound to you? It’s a lot of money. Writing it in the standard shorthand way—800 billion dollars—doesn’t quite do it justice. It really needs that long string of zeros to hit itself home. That’s how much President Barack Obama (D) and the Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate think our government should spend on ‘stimulating’ the economy, at least for now. When you add this to President George W. Bush’s (R) $700,000,000,000.00 stimulus from last year, we’re talking at least $1,500,000,000,000.00—or $1.5 trillion—of unnecessary federal debt for poorly-defined and likely-ineffective efforts to ‘fix’ a natural downturn in our economic cycle. You, your children, and your grandchildren will inherit this debt and pay for it one way or another.

Our leaders are now walking us down the Great Depression road that was paved by President Franklin Roosevelt’s (D) ‘New Deal’ in the 1930s. I put much blame on President Bush and those Republicans—including Senator John McCain (R-AZ)—who went along with the 700 billion dollar boondoggle last year and set this monster in motion, being justifiably trounced in the November elections as a result. It is little consolation that many Republicans have come to their senses now . . . after having ceded the White House and both houses of Congress to strong Democratic majorities.

The 700 billion dollars Bush bailout from last year was an unprecedented government intervention into the free market, characterized by major government ‘investment’ (read: partial nationalization) in the financial industry. Worse, it quickly spread into other industries (like the automotive ‘big three’) without any Congressional authorization or Constitutional basis. The one, small redeeming quality was that at least the money, sooner or later, ended up in businesses. To stimulate an economy, you need to stimulate business and commerce.

The new 800 billion dollars ‘New[er] Deal’ program being considered now is more of an exact duplicate of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’, which many economists believe lengthened and deepened the Great Depression rather than fixing it. Its hallmarks are not investments in business and commerce, but investments in new, broadened government programs and authorities. This will not have any major positive impact on our economy and, worse, will grant ever-more power to an already over-powered federal bureaucracy.

I weep for the republic.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.