Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Behind the "Stimulus" Package There's a Big Time March Toward Socialism

There's a lot to the current "stimulus" package that mimics FDR's "stimulus" packages, and none of it is good. Steve Horwitz explains:

One of the (correct) complaints about the proposed stimulus plan is that it's full of all kinds of programs that would appear to have nothing to do with any accepted economic theory about what sorts of spending could even possibly lead to recovery. The best example of this is the funds for family planning policy that are in the bill...

This isn't just your run-of-the-mill pork. What we are seeing happen right now is that Congress sees this crisis as an opportunity to enact a whole variety of programs that they've wanted to pass for years, especially (but not only) the Democrats who no longer fear a veto, and now finally have the chance. Just as the Patriot Act was a bunch of laws waiting for a political "crisis," so is much of the stimulus package a bunch of programs waiting for an economic "crisis." The current crisis is just a convenient excuse.

But that's not all. Lest we get overwhelmed with nostalgia, we should remember that the exact same thing was true of much of the New Deal. Numerous commentators, from Hughes and Cain's American economic history textbook to authors like Amity Shlaes, have pointed out that a great deal of what FDR did in his first two terms were ideas that had been bouncing around the American left for years, and the Great Depression became the chance to put them into practice. New Deal spending wasn't primarily about economic recovery, it was about transforming the American economy...

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