The Looters Are Coming
How many body blows can an already wobbly economy take from Washington’s new and old gang of politicians before it completely topples over into a comatose state? That’s the question that looms as Barack Obama moves forward with his first one hundred day agenda to stimulate, borrow, spend, devalue and bailout the ailing U.S. economy and seemingly every bankrupt industry. I fear that the left is feeling politically invincible these days now that they control every lever of power in Washington. They are like the forces of the Dark Side after they have defeated the Jedi Knights in The Empire Strikes Back.
Get ready for the Big Green, Big Labor and Big Trial Lawyer agenda to rain down in a steady stream of job killing initiatives that expand their political power and share of the shrinking pie at the expense of the rest of us. These are the people who Ayn Rand described in her classic novel, Atlas Shrugged as “the looters and their laws.” These people calling the shots now don’t create wealth, they mean to take it from me and Glenn Beck, and you, and you… The more successful and wealthy you are the bigger bullseye you have on your chest.
So here is the rundown of what I call the onslaught from the left. Caution those of feeble heart should not read on.
- $850 billion destimulus package -- I refuse to call this a stimulus. The idea here is that if the government spends and borrows and prints nearly $1 trillion we all get jobs and get rich. It’s the Bolivia economic model. Probability of passage 80%
- Forced union rules -- Get rid of secret ballots for elections to unionize factories and plants. So much for democracy. This is the payback for the $400 million the union bosses spent to elect Democrats. Probability of passage 50%
- Hillary Health Care – Obama wants a new version of government run health care. And why not? Socialized health care has worked so well in Canada and the U.K. Just don’t get sick. – Probability of passage 50%
- Cap and trade energy tax – This is the mother of all tax hikes, $1.2 trillion over the next decade. The greenies and their patron saint Al Gore are drooling for this new tax because it will cripple American industry and our manufacturing capacity. Good bye jobs but this is the price we pay for our environmental crimes of the last half-century. Probability of passage 50%
- Soak the rich -- Mr. Obama wants to raise the income tax, the capital gains tax, the dividend tax, and the payroll tax. That’s all. But only the rich – that is people who create jobs, take risks, start businesses, work hard, etc. – will pay. So half of all income taxes will be paid by 1% of Americans. Yes, that’s fair. Probability of passage 50%.
- Don’t drill, don’t drill, don’t drill. Barack Obama is likely to seek a law reinstating bans on offshore drilling for oil and gas in the outer continental shelf, Alaska, and in the oil shale rich states out west. Wow, that’s a great way to create jobs! And a great way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. NOT! Probability of passage 75%
- Fairness doctrine -- To make sure all of this liberal big government agenda isn't derailed by the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the Democrats want to pass the "Fairness doctrine," to make sure that they get equal time on the radio and TV. Have these people ever heard of NPR and Katie Couric? Probability of passage 50%
Yikes! That’s a big dosage of economic cyanide the left wants America to swallow. If this whole agenda goes through, in 2009 the federal budget will run the budget deficit to $2.2 trillion -- in a single year. That's more borrowing in twelve months than the federal government did in 200 years!
So what will you and I and Glenn and all the others of us who still believe in freedom and the principles of limited government that our Founding Fathers set our for this nation do? Will we strap on our armor and get set for fighting the political fight of a lifetime to preserve free market capitalism, or will we put on diapers and cower under the covers with the rest of the bed wetters and hope these real life goblins go away? I say we fight the arsenal of economic lunacy of the looters on the left even though we are outnumbered and outgunned. All that is at stake is the future of the American idea.
Stephen Moore writes on economics for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and is the co-author of The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes will Doom the Economy If We Let it Happen.