Thomas Sowell

This is the kind of cynical revelation that sometimes slips out, despite all the political pieties and spin. Crises have long been seen as great opportunities to expand the federal government's power while the people are too scared to object and before any opposition can get organized.

That is why there is such haste to do things that will take effect slowly.

What are the Beltway politicians buying with all the hundreds of billions of dollars they are spending? They are buying what politicians are most interested in-- power.

In the name of protecting the taxpayers' investment, they are buying the power to tell General Motors how to make cars, banks how to bank and, before it is all over with, all sorts of other people how to do the work they specialize in, and for which members of Congress have no competence, much less expertise.

This administration and Congress are now in a position to do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression of the 1930s-- use a crisis of the times to create new institutions that will last for generations.

To this day, we are still subsidizing millionaires in agriculture because farmers were having a tough time in the 1930s. We have the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") taking reckless chances in the housing market that have blown up in our faces today, because FDR decided to create a new federal housing agency in 1938.

Who knows what bright ideas this administration will turn into permanent institutions for our children and grandchildren to try to cope with?


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate