Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bait and Switch

Charles Krauthammer calls it the “Great Non Sequitur”. In essence, the argument is thus: we’re in the greatest financial crisis of our life times brought on by the Bush administration’s failure to address education, health care and energy. Therefore, we’re going to fix all of these issues with trillions and trillions of (your tax) dollars.

As Mr. Krauthammer points out, this is nonsense.

“The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates. Indeed, one could perversely make the case that, if anything, the proliferation of overeducated, Gucci-wearing, smart-ass MBAs inventing ever more sophisticated and opaque mathematical models and debt instruments helped get us into this credit catastrophe.”

But it’s apparent that these are the “things” Rahm Emanuel had in mind when he said:

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."

I don’t know about you, but to me government paid health care, education K through baccalaureate and government controlled energy policy through increased carbon taxes and cap and trade (the same thing) sounds like European socialism. Nothing radical here!

But how about fixing the financial crisis before we move on to a Brave New World? Unfortunately – and especially in crisis – people tend to continue to do the things they know how to do. Obama’s band of merry men don’t know how to put together a financial stabilization plan. What they do know is how to spread the wealth around.

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