Why Liberalism Cannot Cure the American Economy

Liberal politicians in Washington, D.C. are very nervous about the upcoming elections. The American economy is stuck in the doldrums–if not headed for a double dip recession–and the people just might vent their wrath against those holding the reins of power.

In fact, President Obama’s team is so concerned that they’ve been meeting around the clock to try to come up with a solution. Should they enact another stimulus? Should they unleash a new set of tax credits or incentives? How should the government intervene to get the economy going?

We are told that the president will make a major speech this week about what they plan to do.

There’s just one problem. Liberal solutions to economic problems don’t work. They do not “reckon with reality,” so they are doomed to fail. Liberal politicians and their media cronies just don’t get it.

It’s freedom that we need. Not more government.

As Ronald Reagan once wisely stated: “Government is not the answer to our problems. Government is the problem.”

I recently read a book that opened my eyes to the blindness and bias that exists in both liberal political and media circles.  Peter Goodman’s Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy, was given to me by a friend who wanted my opinion on it.  Mr. Goodman is an economics writer for the New York Times who previously served for ten years as a Washington Post correspondent.
 
Reading books like Goodman’s is a healthy thing to do. It helps me understand what the other side is thinking and keeps me honest in my own beliefs. If you don’t read your philosophical opponents, then you must be unsure of your own principles or afraid to have them challenged. I am neither. As a pursuer of truth, I am open to find it wherever it may be found—sometimes in unusual places.

My friend thought I might be helped by a book from the bastion of liberal thought—the New York Times. I was sadly disappointed. Though Mr. Goodman is an engaging and thorough writer, I was amazed at the conclusions he drew from his analysis of where the American economy went wrong and what we must do to right it.

To be fair, Mr. Goodman rightly points out that many American institutions and individuals got hooked on easy money and credit over the past couple of decades. We spent beyond our means because we used the increasing equity in our homes as a cash cow to fund a debt-ridden lifestyle. He is right in this analysis. Americans got careless with debt during the Reagan-led boom that lasted from 1982 to 2007.

So far, so good.

Goodman weaves many personal stories into his narrative to prove his point. All of these people, from many walks of life, over spent, over borrowed and got shellacked when the mountain of debt became due. He discusses how the big banks and financial institutions did the same—apparently motivated by capitalism and greed. There are some elements of truth here as well.

But then the analysis reverts to the liberal bias. George Bush is consistently mocked throughout the book because he was a believer in unrestrained free enterprise. He also takes to task Bill Clinton’s reform of welfare, Robert Rubin’s and Larry Summer’s leadership during the Clinton years, de-regulation policies, and especially Alan Greenspan’s guidance of the Federal Reserve which was too laissez-faire.
  
The biggest culprit is what Goodman calls “faith based markets.”  He says, “The intensity of the recession… was the direct result of a massive abdication of regulatory authority, one that enabled Wall Street and Madison Avenue to get rich by selling the dream of immediate wealth.”  In other words—the government wasn’t involved enough. He calls this neglect “living in a fantasy world or Neverland.”  He labels the free enterprise proponents as modern day Peter Pans.

Thus Mr. Goodman shares a fond affection for the Keynesian view of economics—that government must assume control of the economy and take the lead. He says, “The government must once again regulate the financial system to protect the economy from investment binges.”  His desired direction is the government establishing “seed investments,” especially in bio-tech and renewable energy (he’s really big on wind and solar), and should finance health care through expanding Medicare and Medicaid and promote a “collective enterprise” between government and industry.

Let’s just say it as it is. Goodman is a socialist—or a fascist. They’re the same thing in his Liberal Neverland.  He decries Wall Street and Main Street—but he a cheerleader for “State Street.” Goodman wants the government to control it all.

That’s why he is admiringly pro-Obama and his liberal economic ideas in the book. There is not one negative or cautionary word about the president’s policies. He lauds the fact that the president declared on inauguration day, “We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the re-making America.”

This re-making included the massive federal stimulus bill which Goodman applauded because it “took the edge off the worst economic fears and raised hopes that the suffering would diminish. It would generate needed paychecks. It would provide relief to those laid off. It would spare jobs that otherwise would have been lost by sending aid to cash-strapped states.”

Talk about Fantasyland. The so-called stimulus was a trillion dollar failure. And normal Americans don’t agree with Goodman’s enthusiasm over the government takeover of health care. They reject it by nearly a sixty to forty margin.

Goodman–and the Obama administration–believe that Big Goverment with its massive income re-distribution priorities are the best masters of the free enterprise system. What they fail to realize is this: It is government intervention that is the problem. Centralized governments always grossly misallocate currency and capital resources that are better guided by individual market decisions. The choices of millions of consumers provide much better checks and balances than a few bureaucrats do.

Here’s what Goodman amazingly missed in his research. He says that banks and other greedy financial institutions lent money they shouldn’t have. They were careless, reckless, and this is why the housing bubble inflated. There was too much money floating around with people abusing it via their home equity loans and re-financing schemes to get rich. He says there wasn’t enough regulation (government control) of the money supply.

But where did they get the money? Private companies cannot print money. Only governments can. It was short-sighted government regulation, through Richard Nixon, in 1971, that removed American finance from the gold standard, allowing trillions of dollars to be printed in the last thirty years that are backed by nothing. In 1971, gold was at $35 an ounce and the dollar was “pegged” to it for stability and strength.

In 2010, gold is over $1200 an ounce and the dollar remains incredibly weak. Bad government regulation has “inflated” our financial institutions with too many dollars. They simply used what they were unwisely given.

You can’t blame the Monopoly players when bank (the Government) is at fault for circulating all the funny money. If the government had left the money supply pegged to gold, there would have been no inflated home prices and no crash. The central planners messed up the system.

Goodman and his liberal friends are also disingenuous about other government agencies that heavily contributed to the financial meltdown. In Past Due, Goodman discussed the giant mortage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He calls them “private companies” and places no blame at their feet for the collapse of the housing market.  

But they are not private entities. They are government subsidiaries that tried to regulate people into homes they couldn’t afford, breaking all the normal laws of wise lending practices. Freddie and Fannie are in bed with the liberals and contribute heavily to their campaigns.

Here’s the bottom line: The US government bears the major responsibility for screwing up the American economy by grossly inflating the money supply and then lending it to unqualified buyers. If the government had stayed out of the markets, they would have been far more stable and self-correcting.

They didn’t–and set us on a course that looks an awful lot like sinking Europe, depressed Japan, and the disgraced and fallen Soviet Union.

Peter Goodman and his ilk now want the Federal Government to lead the American renewal with what? More controls! This is not only dumb–it is suicidal.

Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy is a propaganda book with a ludicrous conclusion. I think it should be re-titled: Past Due: The End of Liberal Dis-Information About the Virtues of Big Government.

America’s economic engine runs on the fuel of faith and freedom–characteristics that liberal thinkers neither understand nor promote.

Fortunately, the American people are seeing the light and will be voting for freedom in November, not for more government regulations. They know that liberalism cannot cure the economy because it puts its faith in the wrong thing–the Almighty State–instead of Almighty God who dwells in the hearts and minds of a self-governing people.

 

 

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