Jonah Goldberg

OK, things aren't going well. Good people are losing their jobs. Every day the deficit is looking more and more like the Great Pit of Carkoon, which, as we all remember, was that giant hole with a ravenous monster inside it that ate Boba Fett in "Return of the Jedi." "In its belly," quoth C-3PO, "you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years." In this case, pain and suffering will inevitably take the form of inflation of Zimbabwean proportions and proctologically intrusive taxes that will make every April 15th seem like a thousand years.

Our elected representatives in Washington sold the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" as a stimulant for the economy, but it is, in fact, Viagra for the leviathan state. The legislation effectively repeals welfare reform, the single most successful domestic policy of the 1990s. I must have been in the bathroom during that debate.

It's no wonder lovers of limited government and fetishists for free markets are moping like dogs whose food bowls have been moved. Alan Greenspan has repudiated capitalism. George Bush paid for Barack Obama's expansion of government with the proceeds from a fire sale on his last remaining free-market principles. Not only are we nationalizing the banks, but the legislators overseeing the banking industry regulate about as well as I play the left-handed harpsichord. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who got a sweetheart mortgage from Countrywide and carried water for Fannie Mae like Gunga Din, should be testifying before his own committee in an orange jumpsuit in exchange for early release. Instead, he's spewing righteous indignation about the malfeasance of the people who used to buy him lunch.

Meanwhile, a bunch of banking CEOs appeared before the House Financial Services Committee this week. Don't get me wrong: These executives should be holding cardboard signs on the side of the road these days ("Will Float Derivatives for Food"), but they at least know what they're talking about. One congressman after another berated the CEOs for making bad loans and having shaky balance sheets. Fair enough. But they also berated them for not using bailout money to make more bad loans, which would keep their balance sheets shaking like Keith Richards at a detox spa.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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