Friday, December 12, 2008

George W. Bush: Czar or President?

Republicans in Congress, who are being closely watched by their constituents, stood their ground and killed the bailout bill for the “Big Three” automakers. Finally, a victory against corporate welfare; and Republicans are acting like conservatives again! Not so fast…

Until today, the Bush administration was opposed to using funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to aid the ailing auto companies according to a Bloomberg report. “Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry.” This statement is indicative of the Bush administration’s position according to Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin.

The last line of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address states: “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It seems that the people no longer have a voice in their government. Our elected officials spoke on our behalf, yet President Bush feels he has the power to override the decision.

Bush’s use of the term “czar” is very disconcerting. His administration has presided over government intervention at extraordinary levels in every aspect from national security to the most disturbing involvement in the economic sector. The administration’s intervention in the financial sector has led to forced partial nationalization of nine of America’s largest banks. Billions of dollars have been given to politically connected institutions to jumpstart and continue peculiar monetary policy along with the continued abuse of credit.

As for the auto industry, the government takes a stake by way of the bailout and will appoint the industry with a “car czar.” Why the term czar? Is there an advantage to using the governing style of former Russian emperors? Just who will this car czar be, and what gives him/her the expertise in overseeing such a transaction? A business does not have to look any further than the federal government for examples of gross mismanagement. With the federal debt approaching $11 trillion and deficits that are likely to surpass $1 trillion, the government isn’t the institution to seek cost structure advice. Therefore, how does a person appointed by a President who has presided over the worst monetary policy arguably since the Hoover and FDR administrations going to get the “Big Three” back on track again? Answer: It won’t happen.

We loan the industry the money so they can pay their bills, then what? Without the major changes that I and other writers have outlined in previous columns, the American taxpayers will be at a crossroads again shortly – this time with a $15 billion sunk cost.

The events that have transpired over the latter half of 2008 have fiscal conservatives and free-market advocates in frenzy. True conservatives know that crisis is a friend of the state. Crisis and people’s desperation give the government the power to overrule the will of the people in order to experiment – experiment with trillions of dollars as if it were pennies. As Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for FDR, George Bush has laid the groundwork for Barack Obama. George Bush has set up the framework for the largest governmental intervention experiment in possibly all of America’s history, as I believe it will surpass the New Deal.

For those fiscal conservatives who still think they have representation in the Republican Party, it is unwise to have blind faith. Don’t be fooled by temporary victories such as the Senate’s. There is no need to be frustrated with Barack Obama or the Democratic Party. Obama will do what he was elected to do and execute the principles his party has always stood for and conservatives have always opposed. After all, it’s not his administration who is agreeing to appoint “car czars,” approved government handouts to select income groups passing it off as “fiscal stimulus” and handed out billions of dollars to irresponsible companies as if it were pocket change.

Sadly, the world will have to see the fallout first before it sees the light…

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