Monday, March 23, 2009

AIG and The People's Republic of America

Let's not be fooled. A politician's outrage is generally a trick skillfully employed either to profit politically from someone else's wrongdoing or to cover up his or her own malfeasance.

The Democrats now running--and at the same time ruining--the country have opened wide all the valves of their outrage now that the A.I.G. bonus payments they approved have become public.

In this clip, Shepard Smith of Fox News lays out the facts exposing the present government's indignation as a contrivance to distract attention from their complicity in the scandal itself. "They could have stopped this. They made it happen." This is an impressive and passionately delivered step by step account of Congressional incompetence and cover-up. Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and their pals have been like 10-year-olds driving an 18-wheel rig.

With the proposed 90% tax on executive bonuses in select companies, Congress is abusing their power to grab particular people's money in righteous indignation, either feigned or real, or a bit of both. This tax system is for funding legitimate government activity. Often it is also used for social engineering. This is neither. It is just grabbing the money of people you don't like. Government orchestrated lawlessness of this sort makes places like Russia and Africa regions that scare off investment, and thus become places of poverty that should be prosperous. Mark Steyn ("The Outrage Kabuki," National Review Online, Mar. 21, 2009) makes this point.

The massive expansion of government the president is planning is forever, and will ensure you that end your days in what Peggy Noonan calls “post-prosperity America.” More immediately, what message do you send to the world when legal contracts can be abrogated by retrospective confiscatory bills of attainder? You think that’s going to get anyone investing in America again?

The investor class invests in jurisdictions where the rules are clear and stable. Right now, Washington is telling the planet: In our America, there are no rules. Got a legally binding contract? We’ll tear it up. Refuse to surrender the dough? We’ll pass a law targeted at you, yes, you, Mr. Beau Nuss of 27 Plutocrat Gardens, Fatcatville. If you want a banana republic on steroids, this is great news.

The danger in all of this concerns not only economic liberty, but also political liberty. Here is Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) demanding the names of people at A.I.G. who received the bonuses. CEO Liddy is concerned not only for the privacy but also the safety of these people. Frank doesn't care. He needs to put faces on the public enemies and give them names for fear that the face might become his. These people have broken no law. They are entitled to the protection of the law, and to the service of their government in enforcing contracts, not abrogating them.

John Hinderaker at Power Line asks, "Are We a Banana Republic?" (It's short, forceful, and right. Read the whole thing.)
If the Pelosi bill is actually enacted into law (which I still think is doubtful) and upheld by the courts, there is no limit to the arbitrary power of Congress. In that event, we have no property rights and there is no Constitution--no equal protection clause, no due process clause, no impairment of contracts clause, no bill of attainder/ex post facto law clause. Instead, we are living in a majoritarian tyranny.

Harold and I have written in this blog about the fascist or tyrannical tendencies of the Obama people in particular and the Democrats in general when they are fully empowered, as they are now. Once they identify you as an enemy or as an impediment to what they want to accomplish, they target you for destruction with every instrument of the public trust at their disposal, whether it is to silence you (conservative talk radio) or plunder you (the top 1% of income earners).

Our founding generation was certain of at least two things: the value of liberty because of human nobility, and the value of limited government because of human depravity. By contrast, radicals like V.I. Lenin and his Bolshevik cadres were entirely certain not only of the perfectibility of man through politics according to Marxist theory, but also of their own righteous incorruptibility on account of their ideological commitment. For this reason, they concentrated power in the state without restraint or scruple.

The Democrats who control Congress and the White House today are convinced that human vulnerability in a system of liberty is morally unacceptable, and thus that concentrating power in hands of the federal government is politically unquestionable. But in these certainties, they are closer to Lenin than Madison philosophically. The eager abandon with which they are concentrating and wielding power in Washington betrays an unblinking confidence in the implicit and unwavering public spiritedness of politically empowered Democrats--but only Democrats because the Democratic party is the People's Party.

That is not the political theory that has preserved liberty and generated prosperity for the last 220 years.

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