President Obama threatens Congress that standing in the way of his "stimulus" program will ruin America. As I predicted not too long ago, the opposition is not likely to make more than a half-hearted attempt to resist the biggest expansion of government since FDR. Many are outraged by the amount of pork in the bill. The people who gave their charming orator a job at the White House may have been hoping for a different change. But that's a minor problem in comparison with the return of the poisonous idea that we need massive federal spending to jump-start the economy.
At his New York Times blog, pro-interventionist (i.e., anti-liberal) economist Paul Krugman admits that the current recession "is the fruit of past irrational exuberance." And then he claims that the only way out is through fiscal expansion. So private exuberance is irrational and harmful but public exuberance is rational and beneficial? Please tell me that I am not the only one who sees that exuberance is exuberance, whether planned or compulsive.
To help those who stand behind the bailouts of Bush and Obama hear how absurd today's re-interpretation of Keynes sounds, let's picture our economy as a restaurant. Things don't look so swell at the moment. A man with diarrhea occupies the only bathroom. The guy is in pain and unwilling to keep eating. He realizes that his condition is a result of overeating fried chicken. But it wasn't his fault. Fried chicken was previously subsidized as part of the American Diet. It is, after all, a basic human right.
Here come Dr. K. and Fearless Leader O. telling the guy that he is unpatriotic. By refusing to eat, he hurts the profits of the restaurant owner. The cook's wage will go down. On and on in a vicious cycle everyone will have less and less to eat for a long, long time. Collective action is needed but there are no more financially healthy patrons to tax. Where, oh where shall we find the resources to get ourselves out of this recession? As it turns out, there is a magical solution.
Let the manager make new money to pay for diarrhea medications. The GDP goes up. Further, let's buy the sick guy an SUV and build a bridge connecting the chicken restaurant with the pizza place across the river. The national economy is going full steam and benefits are spilling over. Finally, let's give the man a new credit card and a blessing to wolf down some pepperoni and cheese. Global economic growth is through the roof.
But before we give the Nobel Peace Prize to the O.-K. team, we should check if the number of bathrooms matches the number of butts, and that we have stockpiled enough electrolytes.