Another Crisis Over, Thanks to the GovernmentAnthony Gregory • Monday September 20, 2010 11:07 AM PDT •
It’s all over the news. “The recession is over.” The mainstream economists say so. This was the longest recession since World War II, I heard on the news (say, I thought the economy was just dandy throughout that war—oh, never mind).
The end of this terrible recession into which the free market plunged us is all thanks to the federal government, of course. In particular, we owe the Obama administration our gratitude for its stimulus program. But we should also tip our hats—hats we can presumably now afford to buy— toward the Bush administration for its TARP bailouts, without which the banking system would have completely collapsed, credit would have dried up and we would have all starved to death.
This is another wonderful crisis brought to an end by government. All within about a month of the end of the Iraq war! That, too, was a crisis, incalculably costly in American blood and treasure. The Iraqis, too, were suffering, or so we heard some time several years ago. But thank goodness that horror is now over. Sure, there are still U.S. soldiers there, shooting, killing and dying—but this does not mean the war is not over, just as the high unemployment figures and inconsistent private investment do not mean that our economic troubles are somehow still persisting.
Speaking of which, the economy sure has been perfected by government’s responses to all the various crises, hasn’t it? Not just currently, but going back many years. In 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, which not only allowed for the financing of the Great War that succeeded in securing democracy throughout the world and precluding any wars from ever again being necessary, but also ensured that our monetary system has been completely solid ever since—no banking panics, no trouble keeping the U.S. dollar strong and stable. Well, there was the Great Depression, but FDR sure acted quickly to make sure we’d never have another big boom and bust. The sharp increase in regulation, federal spending, taxes, stimulus and government control over money in the 1930s sure put an end to any economic problems. The early 1970s might have looked bad, but that was just an illusion, as Nixon fixed that for good by closing the gold window and giving us price controls. The dotcom recession? Bush remedied that once and for all with an engineered housing bubble that was egged on by the most respected of America’s Keynesian economists. All that government intervention from 1913 and the New Deal through the 1970s and onward sure kept the economy from ever falling off the tracks again. And yet, when it did fall off the tracks again in 2007 and 2008—when it was called the greatest financial collapse, at least since 1929—government sure came to the rescue, fixing the disaster caused by the free market, for we all know that the century worth of cascading interventions into the financial markets, the real estate industry, money, banking and the overall economy, could not possibly have had anything to do with this last recession; only the remaining sphere of American economic freedom could be the culprit.
Speaking of the economy, remember how America used to have a crisis with poverty? Lyndon Johnson sure put an end to that. I don’t actually know if the war on poverty ever ended as decisively as the Iraq war has—probably sometime in the 1990s, with welfare reform. Now the government doesn’t need to wage war on poverty any more. It has won. Poverty is vanquished from America.
Although, in the 1980s and 1990s, there sure was a homelessness crisis. It was all over the news. It must have been a very big deal. But no more. The war on homelessness stopped that, thank goodness. Now even left-liberals don’t ever talk about any sort of homelessness problem, so there must not be one.
Speaking of domestic crusades from the last couple generations, remember when our public schools were failing? Thank goodness for the ramping up of public school spending in the last 40 years. Where would we be without it? If not for the war on illiteracy, Carter’s Department of Education, Bush’s No Child Left Behind and the rest of the government’s constant intervention into educational life, we’d probably have such an illiterate, uneducated populace that we’d elect to the presidency men who brag that they don’t read newspapers, or come close to electing Vice Presidents who can’t name two important Supreme Court decisions.
And to think that all this progress has happened alongside the many other problems the government has solved. Back in the 1960s, Americans used to do illegal drugs. Thanks to Nixon, Reagan and all the presidents since, practically no one does illegal drugs, the war on drugs is over, according to the current administration, our streets are safe and we didn’t have to sacrifice any precious liberties to get here. Meanwhile, Americans consume only the safest of pharmaceuticals, and everything that is effective comes quickly to market. We can also be certain, thanks to agricultural subsidies, that healthy food is easily accessible and unhealthy food is more expensive. If the market handled farming completely, you’d probably be able to get a box of corn-syrup-drenched snack cakes for less than a bag of carrots. And if you did overeat and needed medical attention, health care would be massively expensive. Thank goodness for more than fifty years of increasing federal involvement in health care. But it’s too bad that this federal involvement did not prevent the unregulated free market from causing a health care crisis that Obama had to repair with his gigantic health care plan. We can take solace, at least, that the health care crisis is finally over.
The environment is also totally clean, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures that there will never be, say, a huge oil leak off the Gulf Coast that lasts for a couple of months before being plugged. And as for oil, it sure is affordable, thanks to the numerous price regulations and America’s active energy policy, which the last eight presidents have assured us would stabilize prices and produce “energy independence” within a few years. And we need plenty of oil in this country to power our wonderful automobiles, which are built by the kind of companies that are the fulcrum of the American economy, a fulcrum we can thank Uncle Sam for propping up. Now that we know the auto industry is secure, we can drive those American cars with pride on our wonderful government roads—roads you know are safe, with practically no deaths on them. Could you imagine private industry handling the roads? Not only would they be congested and littered with potholes, we’d have thousands of deaths per year, probably more than ten times as many as died on 9/11.
Which brings us to terrorism, the great crisis of the last decade. Solved, thanks to government. Indeed, the “war on terrorism,” just like the “war in Iraq” and the “war on drugs,” has been officially over for a more than a year. Another great government success, and at minimal cost, too.
Americans used to think that government itself could be a serious problem, as it was prone to corruption. Another crisis solved. Thanks to our trustworthy Congress passing campaign finance laws, we know that Congress will never be corrupted.
Some might say this post is sardonic—even cynical. Can we afford to be sarcastic in the current climate? We can afford practically anything, I say, thanks to the end of the recession—another total victory for the government. And we all know that, thanks to our four-trillion dollar central government in DC, our military-industrial complex, our millions of pages of federal edicts, our millions of federal employees, our national police forces unbound by traditional legal constraints, our thousands of regulators, our dozens of welfare programs, our public school system, our government infrastructure, our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, our numerous international quasi-governmental organizations from the WTO to the UN, not to mention the massive state and local bureaucracies that most Americans are blessed to live under—we know that thanks to all this government, we will never see another crisis comparable to this ghastly recession. And if we do, we can always blame it on the free market and the lack of government involvement.
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