12.01.2008 0

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

  • On: 12/15/2008 10:48:57
  • In: Economy
  • By Bill Wilson

    Friday morning was pleasant. In fact, for the first time in a long while many of us who believe in free markets, limited government and the Constitution were able to savor a hard fought and vital win. The night before, the U.S. Senate had thrown in the towel on the ill-conceived bailout of the Detroit automakers. Despite all the threats and predictions of doom, the Senate had not buckled and handed over billions of tax dollars to private companies to squander.

    And then as the day wore on, the news grew bleak. No, the stock markets hadn’t fallen off a cliff. In fact they were very tame. Entire regions of the country did not simply roll over and die. Auto executives still lunched at their favorite clubs. No, the news that was so depressing was that President Bush was preparing to just hand over the money to the companies from another pot of money. It didn’t seem to matter that there was no legal authority to do it, or that the People had spoken with a resounding NO and, for once at least, the politicians had listened.

    None of that mattered. The great, hidden powers had decided to dig the hole we are in still deeper. And to make matters worse, nobody believes for one second that this money will in any way prevent the inevitable. These billions of dollars are little more than a Band-aid on a gaping, sucking chest wound.

    It is somehow fitting that George W. Bush might end his Presidency with an act so damaging, so mindless, so anathematic to the principles on which he asked for our votes that he will for all time be remembered in the harshest of lights.

    But the reported Bush treachery puts in stark relief some facts citizens and politicians should note. It is very telling and could serve as a guide in the near term.

    First, the ease with which Bush would purport to simply take money from the $700 billion fund administered by the Treasury for the bailout of the financial system is startling. Wasn’t the whole reason Congress authorized that money was to stabilize the nation’s financial system, to unclog the chocked off credit markets? Guess that job is done and we had a few dozen billion left over.

    Bush’s looting of this fund, TARP, would make clear that there never was a plan or any thought to how to use the $700 billion. It is a slush fund for the elite to buy their buddies out of trouble. Nothing more. For the future, we need to always demand to see the plan, spelled out in black and white. And double check the fine print.

    Second, the UAW union showed that reasonable compromise is not the way to get your hands on billions of tax dollars. With Tennessee Senator Corker moving mountains and actually getting Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi’s other water-boys in the Senate to agree, the whole deal came down to one thing – the UAW had to agree to a restructuring of the wage package sometime in the next year. No, they screamed. Everything stays the same for at least three years or no deal! And, the Democrats submissively echoed this childish rant. In the end, the union may get its free ride for three years on the backs of the American taxpayers. But what Senator Corker and others demonstrated was that no deal is in fact better than a bad, rip-off deal.

    And finally, President Bush, should he now scam the TARP fund to bailout the UAW union and the over-paid failures in the executive suites, would have shown us all something too. He will have reminded us that people who don’t stand strongly for something will fall for anything. Deluding himself is one thing; but when his delusions cost the nation billions of dollars we don’t have and supply a lifeline to a private entity — the United Autos Workers union — that holds the America values of self government and individual responsibility in contempt, he has crossed the line into perversity.

    There is no other word. George Bush, sticking his hand in the till to grab money to pay off a greedy union that has done everything in its power to destroy free enterprise and the very foundations of Constitutional governance, would be perverse. His apologists will clamor that things will be far worse after January 20 when the Obama Administrations take power. But from my vantage point, the Bush crew is doing everything in their power to make Obama look very good by comparison.

    He must make the harder choice, because the sky is not falling, and the economy will not collapse, should the government not buckle into a bad deal that does nothing to rescue ailing companies that could better restructured in bankruptcy. He should know this, and do the right thing, even if nobody will sing his praises right now.

    Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.


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