But for a Government Gone Too Far

Kevin Williamson notes an unfamiliar state of affairs:

It’s a world gone mad: The Euro-welfarized ‘Nucks are hard at work, their wages up 2.3 percent year over year, while the Aussies, who have a 45 percent top rate for personal income taxes plus a 5 percent payroll tax, are booming. But the rugged individualists toiling in the fields of freewheeling American capitalism are suffering Gallic levels of unemployment. How can that be?

Granted, some of the key causes of this recession were unique to the United States, but Williamson suggests that there’s something more at play:

There will be no new firms without new investment, and that’s the fundamental problem. Investors are terrified. The big guns are worried about the tax hikes that will be necessary should Obamacare pass, about new regulatory burdens like cap-and-trade, and, most of all, about the apparently boundless jurisdiction of Washington meddlers who have arrogated unto themselves the authority to micromanage every nut and bolt of the economy, from the design of cars to the size of Wall Street traders’ paychecks. Individual investors are feeling the continued pinch of the recession and, rather than pouring money into their 401(k)s, are paying down consumer debts and thinking about rainy days. …
One surprising finding: It’s not the size and expense of government alone that has sent the United States downward in the economic-freedom rankings–it’s corruption. “We’re not talking here about outright bribery or petty corruption,” Miller says. “It’s the perception that the United States has a political system that is about rent-seeking and dispensing favors. Canada and Australia have different electoral processes, and very disciplined party structures, so they have less of that. It may not be illegal, but this kind of political bribery, with people buying access and Washington picking winners and losers, creates a perception about the U.S. that shows up in these corruption scores.”

The supposed experts keep predicting that things will return to normal in X number of months, but a great number of us laypeople fear that President Obama really did accomplish change… just not a change that voters would have wished on themselves. In the context of the War on Terror, Mark Steyn recently called the election of Barack Obama “a fundamentally unserious act by the U.S. electorate.” The description applies in the area of the economy, as well.
Big government is a burden on investment and economic growth, but if its rules are predictable and the burden calculable, it’s just an accepted moderation of profits absent a better opportunity. For decades, centuries, the United States has offered that better opportunity, but we’ve been busy, recently, illustrating to the world that our form of democracy can be taken over by redistributionists and thieves. That’s an image that will take more than a couple of elections to shed. If we shed it.

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Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“Investors are terrified. The big guns are worried about the tax hikes that will be necessary should Obamacare pass, about new regulatory burdens like cap-and-trade, and, most of all, about the apparently boundless jurisdiction of Washington meddlers who have arrogated unto themselves the authority to micromanage every nut and bolt of the economy, from the design of cars to the size of Wall Street traders’ paychecks.”
President Obama has been haranging banks to lend more to small businesses. Apparently, they were forced to say to him, “Um, sir, small businesses don’t want to borrow”. And they don’t want to borrow for exactly the reasons listed above: because this Congress and this administration has shown a scary tendency to change the rules midstream. How can anyone take on new financial commitments under such circumstances?

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