August 8, 2011

Taxed and Spent

Roger Kimball:

It’s worth thinking carefully about this brisk reveille that Standard & Poor’s has brought us. As Amilya Antonetti noted in her interview with Neil Cavuto, the business community was not surprised by the news. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin: they had seen the writing on the wall for months. S&P issued a warning last spring, which prompted Timothy Geithner’s little “no risk” ejaculation. The narrative is now up for grabs. The stakes could hardly be higher. The United States is at a crossroads. One way, the way advocated by our political elites, is the Keynesian path. We travel that road endeavoring to spend, and tax, our way out of debt. We have grand, economy-wrecking schemes according to which every auto shall travel 56 miles on a gallon of gasoline. Coal will be taxed and regulated to oblivion. Light bulbs will be toxic, cast a sickly light, but be “energy efficient.” And all Americans will be dependent on the federal government for their basic necessities.

Alexis de Tocqueville came up with the name for that road, and F.A. Hayek made the phrase famous: it is the Road to Serfdom. Vice President Joe Biden said that the Tea Partiers “acted like terrorists” by having the temerity to criticize the recent decision to increase the federal debt by $2.5 trillion. Here’s the question: how much more proof do you need to see that business as usual in Washington is ruining the country? Federal debt at $16.7 trillion. Unemployment above 9 percent. The credit worthiness of the United States downgraded for the first time in history. Isn’t it time to wake up and smell the latte?

One would hope. But this being our government, concern is turning only toward who deserves blame — the same concern, incidentally, the led the GOP House to back the plan that, because it did nothing to address the debt or the mechanisms that continue to abet it, failed to stay a downgrade.

Ironic, isn’t it, that S&P — who so badly missed the government/Fannie and Freddy machinations that led to the housing collapse — is now being attacked as “politically motivated” by the very government whose ludicrous game rigging and shadow accounting it once shielded?

I so love it when they eat their own like this.

(thanks to TerryH)

update: Bill Quick reminds us, by way of Glenn Reynolds, that S&P gave 70% of its political contributions to Democrats.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:25am

Comments (8)

  1. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin: “Let these asses be set to grinding corn”

  2. Pingback: Daily Pundit » Eating Their Own

  3. One might note that Keynes posited an approach that called for the government saving money in good times that it could dispense in bad times. So, we have never really had a Keynesian approach being applied, since the government spent more in the good times and even more in the bad times.

    This doesn’t mean that I think Keynes was right, just that it has never actually been tried. I don’t think it could ever be applied because it’s too tempting to spend surplus money to buy favor and power.

  4. What’s more, if I remember him right cranky-d, Keynes believed that total government taking from the whole economy, say GDP for now, meaning total of all governments local, state and national, should never exceed roughly 25%. If that is true of him, he would be horrified at our current 40+% and growing.

  5. Oh yay! Barry’s coming to a tv near you! Huzzah! More EmpLamDukO for to feast yer eyes and ears.

  6. I remember when “Seen it, pinched it, spent it” was a smartass line by Edmund Blackadder rather than government policy regarding Social Security premiums, our children’s future, etc.

  7. Boehner was very proud, and the TEA Party were the big winners, remember? Heady days, those.

    I wonder if the credit downgrade and the near thousand points shaved off the stock market were part of the 98% of what they wanted that Boehner and boys got in their courageous, get-er-done debt deal.

  8. Would it be an interesting test of comparative credibility should Boehner make an address during a market session, announcing his decision to press forward with either Ryan’s already passed budget or CCB or both and watch the market to see what happens? Well, no, because it’s a too shitty an experimental set-up. But still, I’d bet whatever the public may think of Boehner, it holds his honesty in better odor than Obama’s by far. It isn’t to say much for Boehner though. Political genius he ain’t.