Morning Bell: Washington’s Unprecedented Power Grab

Conn Carroll /

On Nov. 9, the communist Chinese government announced a $586 billion economic stimulus plan that party leaders hailed as a “New Deal” for the people. Here in the United States, a supposedly “conservative” administration has already enacted $333 billion in “emergency” spending bills and another $105 billion in tax rebate checks. But that is just the beginning. The Treasury Department has also already given away $300 billion to an undisclosed number of banks and financial institutions as part of its Wall Street bailout plan. That’s over $700 billion in new government spending in the past year alone. Our government has also guaranteed the debt of Bear Stearns, American International Group, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And guess what? Economists now predict that eventual cost of the Fannie and Freddie bailout will exceed $200 billion. All told Washington is on the hook for over $5 trillion — so far.

While Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) is admitting that conservatives have the power to block a bailout of the auto industry now, Detroit will get its money eventually. If a more liberal Congress does not give the big three and their labor unions all the taxpayer money they want, President-elect Obama will use the Wall Street bailout funds to do it anyway. Of course, once you’re bailing out banks and automakers, there will be no justification for excluding other big businesses from feeding at the taxpayer trough. Airlines, hotels, construction, computers — all these industries are hurting as consumption retracts, and all of them have just as good a case that they need to be bailed out to protect jobs as the auto industry. Then there are the spendthrift states like California and New York that all want federal money not to mention all the major U.S. cities who are equally deserving. The bailout parade has no end.

All of these bailouts come at a heavy cost, and not just to the American taxpayer. Just like the mafia that wants to “wet its beak,” government money comes with government interference. Hence Obama’s promise that any money for automakers comes with an auto czarwho would have the authority to push for reforms.” With liberals in power in Washington, bureaucrats will be able to decide what kind of car you drive, how much you should pay for your house, and what medical procedures you can and can not have. What’s the difference between us and China again?

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