“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” said Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff. One look at the so-called “Stimulus Package” that doesn’t stimulate but is the biggest aggregation of special interest pork in the history of the Republic tells you exactly what he means. Consider two facts: One, the amount of money this bill would shovel out the front door of the Treasury is- adjusted for inflation- Five times the total amount of money spent by FDR in his first three years in office.
Two, given that all this money must be borrowed, and hoping that the Chinese and others will continue to purchase U.S. debt, the rarely mentioned interest payments alone-347 billion dollars- are the largest single budgetary line item in our history.
The tipoff on what the Democrats are up to is revealed in the way they (aided by the media echo chamber) relentlessly describe the country’s economic condition as the “Worst since the Great Depression”.
The truth however is very different. Our economy while certainly bad is only the “Worst since the Carter Administration”. In that period unemployment touched double digits, inflation hit 12%, interest rates an astonishing 21 %, and gasoline prices-adjusted for inflation- were higher even than the recent four dollars per gallon. Today these key indicators of economic hardship are nowhere near as bad as the Carter years.
So, why are Democrats desperately determined to utterly ignore the Golden Age of Jimmy and rush all the way back to the Great Depression as the proper benchmark for today’s economic crisis?
There are two reasons. First, using the Great Depression as a comparative allows Democrats to cast George Bush in the villainous role of Herbert Hoover, and even better lets Obama masquerade as the Second Coming of the liberal God FDR.
Now for Democrats it just wouldn’t do to describe Bush as merely “the worst President since Carter”, particularly since that would get people thinking that maybe Barack Obama is the new Ronald Reagan.
The second, and far more ominous reason is that by invoking the “Great Depression” and the economic horror stories associated with it (e.g. 25% unemployment) the Democrats hope to create a climate of fear and anxiety among our citizens that will in turn facilitate their radical agenda of a massive power transfer that will transform all the major sectors of our economy- education, environment, energy, health care, labor relations etc. Only by persuading the public that the economic crisis is truly calamitous and catastrophic in scope can the Democrats justify and sell the sweeping, even revolutionary changes they have in mind.
Needless to say, these sweeping changes are not talked about openly. Democrats long ago learned the imperative of a “stealth strategy” (i.e. say one thing while planning to do another).
In broad stroke the true liberal goal is the transformation of America into a statist social welfare society along European lines. Remember, these are the people who tried to impose Hillary Care, still praise the rationed Canadian health care system, and even find good things in Fidel Castro’s approach to public health.
The means of achieving this Brave New World are simply put, redistribution of wealth and income. Remember Barack Obama’s unguarded remark to Joe the Plumber: ”Aren’t things better for everybody when you spread the wealth around?”
Up until now these Democratic goals have been hidden behind vague promises-e.g. affordable health care for all, tax cuts for 95% of us. Now, with the “stimulus” the Democrats have been compelled to put in writing for the first time a list of specifics. The result is an appalling compendium of “good ideas” put together by Nancy Pelosi and friends,that is only a down payment on the even bigger and better ideas that will soon follow.
Now if the economic crisis is as catastrophic as the Democrats would have us believe, then it logically follows that these good ideas must be signed into law real fast, at least fast enough to insure that the public has no real chance to look at them, and Congress has no chance to debate or significantly alter the most expensive piece of legislation in history.
There will however be ample time-one day- for our grandchildren to ask us incredulously: “What were you thinking”?
William Moloney’s columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Baltimore Sun.