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Guest Author

James D. Best is the author of Tempest at Dawn, a novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention.


 “Well, I’m here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.” Vice President Joe Biden, April 23, 2010

Why does Joe Biden keep smiling? He’s been cheerleading all year, but he’s so disconnected that he hasn’t noticed that nobody listens anymore. He just keeps smiling and shoveling pabulum. Our dear vice president prattles on like no one in America has a memory that extends beyond a single news cycle. The Obama economic plan isn’t working and no amount of happy talk will convince the regular folks that it is 

On Friday, September 24th, the Feds executed a bailout operation for credit unions. Didn’t they tell us the financial crisis was behind us? Don’t worry. This bailout won’t cost the taxpayers one red-cent. At least, that’s what they want us to believe. Heck, they tried to convince us that they could give free or subsidized medical care to thirty million people, while simultaneously reducing the deficit. In comparison, this is a picayune lie. Here’s the gist: The government absorbs $50 billion of bad debts, increasing the government’s control of credit union assets to over 70%. (Bet you didn’t know about this government takeover of private business.) But not to worry, they have a plan. They’re going to bundle $30-35 billion of these toxic assets and sell them to Wall Street with a 100% government guarantee. Voila! Everything has a fresh coat of paint and no one’s the wiser.

When these taxpayer-guaranteed bonds start going belly up, dozens of news cycles will have passed. But you can count on Good ol’ Joe being out there telling us they have it all under control. Not moving as fast as they’d like, you understand, but no one questions that they’ve got us going in the right direction. 

Let’s see. Unemployment is 9.6% with no major improvement in sight, the FDIC says the number of banks at risk of failure has risen to 11 percent of insured institutions, Bloomberg reports that 118 lending institutions have already been seized this year, housing hasn’t improved, except in favored regions like New York City and the greater Washington D.C. area. To add salt to the wounds, the government ceremoniously declared that the recession ended over a year and a half ago. Huh? Something doesn’t seem right here.

Obama is practicing J. Wellington Wimpy economics. Wimpy was Popeye’s depression era friend who satisfied his needs by borrowing against next Tuesday. Except spending our way to wealth didn’t work in the Great Depression, and it won’t get us out of this mess either.

The Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate says we must save union workers, government employees, and poor folks because they’ll spend and get the economy going again. This is a shell game, and they’re playing us for marks. As they shuffle the walnut-covered pea to a new location, an old location becomes empty. Here’s is just one example: they forced interest rates to historic lows to finance their largess, so retired folks can’t earn diddly-squat for their life savings, and pension funds all over America are going to their corporate masters or taxpayers to get more money because they can’t make their projected earnings. So … a Detroit auto worker can take his family out to dinner, while the retired couple down the street foregoes visiting their grandkids in Cleveland.

Here’s the problem. Income redistribution is a zero sum game. A big-ticket shell game, made possible by shills promising riches to onlookers not in on the scam. Capitalism and free markets, on the other hand, grow the pie. Everybody gets more. Yup, some get more than others, but it’s how we built the richest nation on earth. It’s how we moved technology so fast, you hesitate to buy the latest gadget because you know darn well it will be half the price next year. It’s how we advanced medicine so far that we can prolong both the length and quality of life. It’s the only economic system in the history of the world that grows and multiplies wealth and well-being. Our capitalistic free market economy even made it possible for ignoramuses to believe we can afford anything and everything.   

I have bad news. Big Tuesday is November 2nd. It’s time to pay for all those hamburgers. Let’s get a new bunch of guys behind the counter that believe in cash and carry. 

James D. Best is the author of Tempest at Dawn, a novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention.