"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, September 9, 2011

Summing Up the President's Speech

From James Lileks:
A half-century experiment in draping steam­ship anchors around the necks of the productive class and expecting them to run a four-minute mile has ended in failure. The confiscation of rights and property, the moral impoverishment of generations caused by the state’s usurpation of parental obligations, the elevation of a credentialed elite that believes academia’s fashions are a worthy substitute for knowledge of history and human nature, and above all the faith in a weightless cipher whose oratorical panache now consists of looking from one teleprompter screen to the other with the enthusiasm of a man watching someone else’s kids play tennis–it’s over, whether you believe in it or not.

I posted my own thoughts in a comment over on Ace of Spades before the speech even happened, when I learned that the "plan" was to spend $450 billion or so, but "pay for it," presumably through higher taxes on the "wealthy" and corporations:

Isn't the whole scenario theoretically inconsistent?   Obama says we need to spend in order to "jump-start" the economy.  Governments can spend in one of two ways:  they can either directly spend money (in this case, money that we don't have and must borrow), or they can reduce taxes.   Either way, money gets injected into the economy and through the supposed miracle of Keynesian economics, circulates, generating economic activity, growth and, presumably, new employment.   But what Obama is proposing is to simultaneously spend money and increase taxes to "pay for" the spending.   Even on its own terms it makes no sense:  how exactly is that stimulus if the net amount of money injected into the economy is zero?   All it really means is that the government gets to decide who gets to receive stimulus dollars, and whose ox gets gored on the other side through new taxes.   It's not stimulus, it's simply a "grow bigger government" program.   Or, put differently, it's a reward Obama's friends and punish his enemies program.

No comments:

Post a Comment