Pat Buchanan

The JFK tax cuts of the 1960s, also a Reagan model, were equally successful.

Harding, Coolidge, JFK and Reagan all bet on the private sector as the engine of prosperity. All succeeded. Franklin Roosevelt bet on government. And the New Deal failed. It was World War II that pulled the United States out of the Depression ditch of the 1930s.

Comes now the financial collapse and economic crisis of 2008, inherited by Obama, with 40 percent of all stock values wiped out in a year, foreclosures pandemic, and unemployment near 7 percent and surging.

In crafting his solutions, Obama seems to be brushing aside the Reagan, JFK and Harding-Coolidge models, and channeling FDR and the New Deal Democrats.

Already staring at a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit for the year ending Sept. 30, about 8 percent of the entire U.S. economy, Obama intends to add a stimulus package of $700 billion to $1 trillion, yet another 5 percent to 7 percent of gross domestic product. The resulting deficit would be twice as large as Reagan's largest, 6 percent of GDP, which was the largest since World War II.

And how is this Niagara of money to be spent?

Hundreds of billions will go out in checks of $500 to $1,000 to wage-earners and individuals who do not even pay taxes. This is much like the George McGovern "demogrant" program of 1972, where every man, woman and child, if memory serves, was to get a $1,000 check from the U.S. government.

Other hundreds of billions will go to shore up state and municipal spending. Other hundreds of billions will go for "infrastructure" projects, another name for earmarks, which is a synonym for pork.

Now, as Obama does not intend to raise taxes, at least now, he is going to have to borrow this near $2 trillion from foreigners or U.S. taxpayers, or the Fed will have to create the money. Undeniably, this will have an impact upon the economy. But what will that impact be?

Where in history, other than World War II, is there evidence that such a mass infusion of spending restored prosperity?

Obama and the Democrats are taking a historic gamble, not only with their careers but with the country. If this monstrous stimulus package, plus the trillions in hot money, do not work; if the two ignite rampant inflation, rather than real growth, we are all out of options. The toolbox is empty.

And what will follow may truly resemble the 1930s.


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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