Bill Murchison

Just for beans, I Googled "free enterprise," then clicked on "news." Results: 11,303. Tried the same thing with "private business." This time: 131,097. Ah, but "news" with "federal government" as the search item: 272,332.

You see? When it comes to public interest and attention during this moment of economic strain, Washington, D.C., the distributor of income, seems easily to outstrip business, the creator of the income marked for distribution. "Seems," I said. A Google search "proves" nothing. It merely suggests what many people are talking about -- such as our national lurch toward central direction.

The present perception is one we might characterize as relief that Congress and the White House have consented to restore happiness and good livin'.

We focus on government, partly because its check-writing authority is so large, partly because, due to that authority, Americans wait longer and more intently than they used to for the federal government to tell them what to do.

My point? Not that government wouldn't receive universal opprobrium for failing to help out; rather, that, as quickly as possible, government should stop helping, and then reverse course. Back to the past! Bigger government than we had, when the Obama administration began, we plainly don't need. In economic affairs, private reliably beats public.

The great myth presently circulating among us, threatening to ossify into reality, is that for the mess we're in we can mainly blame the deregulatory policies of the past couple of decades, along with tax cuts during the Bush years. Such policies (according to the myth-makers) embody the wild and crazy notion that those who create the money in the first place, through investment and work, are entitled to the largest share of it, and that redistribution of resources by government (including money available for bonuses) is a lousy idea.

Repudiating those notions is in large part what the "stimulus" bill is about. Taxes don't get raised for the present, but Congress and the White House create from thin air vast new spending programs that someone has to pay for at some point, through tax increases, inflation, or, likelier, both. Meanwhile, where does the new spending go? Where Congress says it goes, with minimal regard to need or merit: mostly just to the politics of the budget-writers.


Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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