If property rights (though not necessarily intellectual property rights, for reasons we’ll discuss at tonight’s 8pm debate) allow resources to flow in an efficient, voluntary fashion to their most-valued uses (as suggested in my Monday entry), while government causes resources to flow in an inefficient, coerced, and arbitrary fashion (as suggested in yesterday’s entry), we should constantly be on guard for legal changes that blur the line between the private (that is, private-property) sector and the public (that is, government-controlled) sector. Every dime transferred from the private to the public sector is a tragedy, another instance of waste and lost opportunity — lost human happiness and potential.
Needless to say, then, any decent-but-misguided person (some libertarians among them) who voted for Obama should be feeling great chagrin now as the president-elect (after picking Leon Panetta to run the CIA and reportedly CNN medical reporter Sanjay Gupta to be Surgeon General, which should at least irk his old sparring partner Michael Moore) readies a $1 trillion “stimulus” package of government spending — every dime of it, of course, having to be yanked out of the private sector at some point, like all of government’s stolen — and then “magnanimously” doled-out — loot. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the stimulus package alone costs twice what FDR’s entire New Deal did, in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is the end of something.
On the bright side, rhetorically, I have to love the fact that the term “zombies” has been used in recent months for propped-up, government-subsidized, bailed-out firms that aren’t really functional. Clearly, this highly pejorative term was not focus-grouped by government spin teams. It’s simply too accurate — and well-timed, since this is a month of the undead at the cinema (witness the abominable and David Goyer-discrediting The Unborn, as well as the vampire movies Let the Right One In, Twilight, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, this last being the story of an actress named Kate Beckinsale being replaced by an eerie duplicate named Rhona Mitra — and in the more distant future lies the apocalyptic all-out zombie armageddon film World War Z, from the director of Quantum of Solace and the writer of Babylon 5 and The Changeling).
I wonder, though — to touch on a major controversy among horror nerds — will these “zombies” be the fast-moving kind or the slow-moving kind? I suspect they will start out fast and get slower and slower, and stupider and stupider.
P.S. On another bright rhetoric note, though, I like the fact that even amidst America’s Obamania, cynical, weary, derisive headlines like this are becoming the norm:
“Bailout du jour: U.S. government unveils plan to rescue Citigroup”
The Reason Foundation notes that the main bailout bill contains a $94 million U. of Miami parking garage among other things. You know, I don’t care if they say the world’s going to end, I think the strict-anarchist position that they can’t be trusted to spend a dime looks increasingly reasonable. Wanna end poverty? Find a way to do it without my money. Business in dire need? Close it and try starting another someday. Wanna liberate Iraq? Hire mercenaries, etc., etc.
Instead, we find ourselves in the bizarre, historic position of wondering whether the nice left-wing black man will give money to desperate, needy investment bankers. Strange. Stranger still, there’s talk of bailing out credit card companies — and bailing out credit card companies while taxpayers pay their taxes using credit cards seems oddly circular somehow…
But then, as economist Don Boudreaux has noted, way back during the first New Deal some journalists had already figured out that bankrupting industries was a clever first step by the government on the road to socializing them. So at least there’s a plan at work.