JLF Memo
Nov. 12th, 2012: - johnlocke.org Manage Subscriptions

They broke it; we bought it
By Jon Sanders

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Caveat emptor. That's a Latin expression for "Let the buyer beware," which could also be expressed as "We broke it; you bought it." And that sounds like the winning message of the 2012 presidential campaign.

What's broken is rather self-evident at this point, though the winning side is pleased we accept it as (euphemism alert) the "new normal" and their lickspittle media pretend to find it lovely this time. But what did we buy? Among our dear-bought prizes:

  • A crippling gut-stomp of federal regulations
    The Environmental Protection Agency has been waiting till after Election Day to release thousands of new environmental regulations. Regardless of how one terms the coming onslaught -- is it a tidal wave or a train wreck? -- the pending crush of over 4,100 regulations will cost the U.S. economy, which one may remember is still struggling to recover, over $500 billion. In other words, the EPA is poised to consign half a trillion dollars' worth of economic activity to deadweight loss. We bought that.

  • Taxmaggedon and the Fiscal Cliff
    Our national choice to stay the course, this course, has a Thelma & Louise/Wile E. Coyote flair to it. The fiscal cliff fast approaches, which will cost the U.S. economy, which one may remember is still struggling to recover, an estimated $800 billion. Meanwhile, Taxmaggedon is poised to erupt at the same time, taking out 3-5 percent of GDP right when, as one may remember, the U.S. economy is still struggling to recover. The Tax Foundation, much like Accuweather did for Hurricane Sandy, has put together a handy primer for understanding what is coming, this fiscal disaster. We bought that, too.

  • The still-unfathomed depths of Obamacare taxes and regulations
    How many pages of regulations does the federal government require to micromanage one-sixth of the U.S. economy? So far, tens of thousands, due to arrive in January while, as one may remember, the U.S. economy still struggles to recover. The latest estimate of the cost of Obamacare taxes to the U.S. economy, which one may remember is still struggling to recover, is more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. The legislation, which was first pushed as a government-compassion kind of way to address the fact that poor people struggle to afford health insurance, contains a special "penalty tax" for those who disobey the Obamacare dictate that they buy health insurance (that is, for poor people who decide they can't afford health insurance). That tax would affect an estimated 6 million low- and middle-income Americans, depriving them of up to 10 percent of their paltry incomes as they, along with the U.S. economy, struggle to recover. We bought all that.

The dust jacket for Amity Shlaes' history of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, summarizes,

Shlaes also traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers themselves as they discovered their errors. She shows how both Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt failed to understand the prosperity of the 1920s and heaped massive burdens on the country that more than offset the benefit of the New Deal programs. The real question about the Depression, she argues, is not whether Roosevelt ended it with World War II. It is why the Depression lasted so long. From 1929 to 1940, federal intervention helped to make the Depression great -- in part by forgetting the men and women who sought to help one another.

Back then, a recession turned depression turned great by government intervention, government meddling, and government continuing to heap new burdens on a struggling economy was the popular choice, as well.

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