Friday, February 27, 2009

Big Government

It's a phrase that comes from the right seemingly automatically whenever a government program works to solve a problem: big government. The huge stimulus package that President Obama has presented to counter the effect of the past eight years' battle against public interests calls it forth constantly. While I think liberals slough it off, it seems to be a good time to mention that 'big' government is the mantra that is supposed to point out to wingers what is wrong with solving problems.

The Wall Street Journal of course provided the ultimate warning light; Daniel Henninger writes there that we have been, essentially, kidnapped.

...the economic crisis, as it did for Franklin D. Roosevelt, will serve as a stepping stone to a radical shift in the relationship between the people and their government. It will bind Americans to their government in ways not experienced since the New Deal. This tectonic shift, if successful, will be equal to the forces of public authority set in motion by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The Obama presidency is going to be a radical presidency.
Mr. Obama believes health-care costs cause a bankruptcy "every 30 seconds" and will drive 1.5 million Americans from their homes this year. Therefore, the budget's vision on health is "historic" and a "downpayment" toward comprehensive health insurance. This "will not wait another year," he said.

He announced "tax-free universal savings accounts" as a solution to Social Security's crisis. This is a savings plan supported by federal matching contributions automatically deposited in individual accounts.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that this spending -- which in the public sector's new vocabulary is always "investment" -- will be costly. His read-my-lips moment was that no family with an income under $250,000 will pay a "single dime" in new taxes to support the construction of this new federal skyscraper. If that's still true in 2015, Mr. Obama will be walking back and forth across the Potomac River.

He told Congress he does not believe in bigger government. I don't believe that. It's becoming clear that the private sector is going to be demoted into a secondary role in the U.S. system. This isn't socialism, but it is not the system we've had since the early 1980s. It would be a reordered economic system, its direction chosen and guided by Mr. Obama and his inner circle.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's postspeech reply did not come close to recognizing the gauntlet Mr. Obama has thrown down to the opposition. Unless the GOP can discover a radical message of its own to distinguish it from the president's, it should prepare to live under Mr. Obama's radicalism for at least a generation.

The fair and balanced part, in case you missed it, is that 'this isn't socialism'. That is immediately followed by the dreaded control of the Obamas. These are those liberals who are going to run things now, in this lurid picture of being usurped. That big government monster is an operation by the Other Sort - as opposed to the incompetence that the mogul horde 'base' has given us for eight years. That we have a radical shift to head off the disaster brought on by corporate welfare that throws the public to the free market - there's your ultimate threat for those corporate shills.

The opposite of that threatened big government has been seen up close and personal, and it consisted of government agencies run by the very people who opposed them. In the case of FEMA, we saw one of the worst exhibits of Small Government. When a hack who got his post by being a political operative was given real needs to meet, he dressed up and ran in circles while New Orleans drowned. In the case of all the agencies of the executive branch, political loyalty to the opponents of public interest was all the qualifications wanted or accepted. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

This big government thing appears to be really great for a change. Under it, we get agencies headed by those with expertise in their areas, who are actually performing the job they are given. Of course, they will have to fight tooth and nail against the Small. There is only one principle that guides the Small. It is that public interest is and will remain forever the denial of the very services that government is there to perform. It may be called Small Government by the right wingers, but its effect is that of government with Very Little Brain. (Sorry, piglet, you would have done it better.)

The corporate welfare advocates have a lot of bugaboos, and seem to be scared of losing the control they have shown they can't handle. Big government, like liberal, and socialized medicine, are terms that strike fear in their ranks. It's time that we liberals started to take pride in producing the antidote to winger disaster.

Radical government is a beginning. It's much more likely to succeed than the 'conservative' kind, that pits the rich against the poor, and cheats. Less government of the Small, by the Small, and for the Small. More radical big government, please.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

to paraphrase the arch-conservative mage, Barry Goldwater, apparently radicalism in pursuit of world domination of energy resources is no vice.

but radicalism in pursuit of social justice and equity (to the extent that that is what the Obama regime portends, which I seriously doubt) is scary and needs to be shut down.

Yeah, I get it...

9:57 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Getting back to small people acting small, making sure the unwashed masses are earning smalltime, is sure important to the wingers.

10:34 AM  

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