Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ill Fares The Land - Tony Judt

The book club met yesterday and as usual each member commented on Mr. Judt's book. I was again out of step. The book was not a comfortable read for me. It's is biased with liberal comments and opinions I disagree with.

Tony Judt is an intellectual academic whose specialty is social and economic systems. Way too many of his statements are no more than his questionable opinion.     

Judt says: "unregulated capitalism is it's own worst enemy and sooner or later must fail and turn to the state for rescue."
I believe President Bush unwisely approved the $700 billion dollar (TARP) stimulus to shore up the nation's temporary credit crisis, then followed with another stimulus of $152 billion dollars intended to promote job creation. Both efforts failed.

The Hoover Institute (Stanford University) paper by John Cogan says: "The general idea of stimulating the economy through state and local governments is probably not a very good one. Plain old permanent federal income tax cuts retain their superiority as a fiscal stabilization device."

Cogan also says: "The bottom line is the federal government borrowed funds from the public, transferred these funds to state and local governments, who then used the funds mainly to reduce borrowing from the public. The net impact on aggregate economic activity is zero."

Judt says: "A liberal is someone who opposes interference in the affairs of others; who is tolerant of dissenting attitudes and unconventional behavior." 

He must have been kidding.
Judt also writes that: " . . . . in public policy social democrats believe in the possibility and virtue of collective action for the collective good." 

So do conservatives and libertarians. The problem is that America's most difficult policy issues are embedded in a vast government administration that has become corrupted. There is little regard for the principles the Constitution for example.  
F.D.R. made a huge and harmful decision when he added Economic Security to the Bill of Rights. He used this new right  to increase the size and scope of the federal government, and to creat huge non-sustaining entitlements. Economic Security was again used by President G.W. Bush to justify another $852 billion dollar stimulus. And the right to Economic Security was again used by President Obama when he released another $787 billion dollar stimulus in 2009.
Judt writes: "To avert national bankruptcies and wholesale banking collapse, governments and central bankers have performed remarkable policy reversals, liberally dispersing public money in pursuit of economic stability and taking failed companies into public control without a second thought."

The national government is now the largest single force in America and consumes half of all we produce. It has also accumulated a the largest public debt in our history. How can this be a good thing? 

Then he says: "In short, the practical need for strong states and interventionist governments is beyond dispute."

Judt is way out of touch. Over half of all Americans disagree with him.  Like other liberals Mr. Judt claims that interventionist governments are the natural extension of the founders principles, documents, and institutions - and there is no basis for this statement.
Either we will be governed by ourselves under our Constitution, or else we will be governed by a new kind of master invented in our day, the bureaucrat, and by the impenetrable web of rules that he fabricates and enforces.



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