Monday, July 20, 2009

Anger on its own does little

by Smitty

Diana West had a provocative editorial in the Washington Examiner: "Anger ahead when the fog clears on Obama's power grabs" (the print title was shorter). In a shockingly traditional move, I had picked up this dead-tree format paper from the driveway while my wife was dragging me to the store to shop some groceries. Formatted as per the print edition for clarity.
As much as anything else this week, what cast me into this particular abyss of speculation was the stunning news that after Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., declared the Obama administration's stimulus spending plan ineffective and urged a halt to further stimulus spending, the White House dispatched four Cabinet secretaries -- Transportation's Ray LaHood, Agriculture's Tom Vilsack, Housing and Urban Development's Shaun Donovan, Interior's Ken Salazar -- to write letters to Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer enumerating every dime of federal monies that would no longer flow to her state if Sen. Kyl had his way.

As LaHood snarkily put it to Gov. Brewer, "If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know."

What did the White House expect the governor to do next? Make Sen. Kyl an offer he couldn't refuse? Or, as Mark Steyn, detecting the whiff of extortion in the air, asked: "Why not just break his (Kyl's) legs in the Senate parking lot?"

It's understandable that the Federal government, which prints the money, would assume the role of manna generator. It's also natural, from a Tytler viewpoint, that politicians would latch onto largess to ensure re-election. This is the nature of moral hazard and the Iron Law.

What is needed, then, are some dispassionate ideas about how to put the throat that makes the decision just a little bit closer to the hand that has to work to fund it. Assuming he stays in character, by the time Barack Obama dies, hopefully more than twice his current age, he'll be paraphrasing Westmoreland: ""The United States in the end abandoned Socialism."

It doesn't take anger. It takes commitment to Federalism, avoidance of shortcuts, and insistence from "We the People" that social programs are not funded using Rock Star Economics: "We'll just tour some more and release another live album to fund the drug habit."

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