A Prelude to the 2010 Midterms

Every once in a while, I read an article that just makes me want to yell out in frustration—usually when the so-called ‘mainstream media’ or the government discovers something painfully obvious that I and others had been saying all along. This happened to me again yesterday when I read in the Washington Times that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke lied to Congress and the American people during last year’s bailout bonanza.

Paulson and Bernanke, both appointees of former President George W. Bush (R), were the primary cheerleaders working to convince us that the universe was coming to an end unless the government dumped billions upon billions of your and my money into propping up failed corporations like AIG, Bank of America, General Motors, and more. Lots of us saw this for what it was—an unprecedented and ill-advised power grab by the federal government that would, in reality, do nothing to ‘fix’ the economy. It was an affront to our free market economy and blatantly unconstitutional.

Paulson, of course, left office when Bush did along with most of his other appointees. Bernanke, on the other hand, stayed on (Fed. terms follow their own four-year schedule) and was recently reappointed by President Barack Obama (D). ‘Change’ indeed.

The Bush/Obama bailouts were rammed down our throats with virtually no public support. Those in charge of the bailouts said one thing and did another with the initial bailouts, and then used much of the rest for something completely unrelated. And now, finally, somebody writes an article in a newspaper pointing out that these people lied to us. You just noticed?

Some on the far left have gone on-and-on about how they want to see Bush and members of his administration prosecuted for their anti-terror policies, but these economic bailouts were where Bush really made toilet paper of the Constitution. National defense is and always has been the proper purview of the president under the authority granted to him by the Constitution, and I have yet to see any real evidence of the Bush administration overstepping its authority in this area. Buying up banks and car companies, however, is a clear and direct violation of the Tenth Amendment.

If we are going to prosecute anybody for things that happened during the Bush administration, we should start with Paulson and Bernanke, not Cheney and Rumsfeld.

The damage is done though, and I don’t support charging Paulson and Bernanke with any crimes (tempting as it might be). We must look forward. In the coming years, we (the people) must reclaim our free markets. We must reclaim our limited, accountable government. We must demand that our leaders abide by the written text of the U.S. Constitution and take back our republic. I said after the 2008 election that many Americans voted for ‘change’ because they were pissed off about the bailouts and insane federal spending, and yet Obama came into office doing the same things and—most incredibly—quadrupling the deficit from its previous record under Bush.

We need to see through the discredited rhetoric of the ‘neo-conservatives’ and ‘progressives’ who, under the banners of both the Republican and Democratic parties, have built us a bigger, more intrusive government and ignored what we want them to do (which is: leave us alone). They’ve pursued the same basic policies while sniping at each other on a few ‘wedge’ issues. Let’s try something different in 2010. Let’s find candidates who subscribe to the ideals of limited government. They may call themselves ‘paleo-conservatives’ or ‘classical liberals’ or ‘libertarians’ or something else, but they’re out there if you look for them.

I, for one, want to see lots of them on the ballot next year.

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.