Sunday, June 8, 2014

Who says the empire is broke?

Libertarians have paralleled the neocon US to Nazi Germany quite often, but when an establishment voice makes such a comparison, it is noteworthy.  Not only the words spoken are worthy of note, but the establishment turbulence they created.

Richard Mourdock is the outgoing treasurer of Indiana.  During his political career he has called for cuts in federal spending of $7.6 trillion over a ten-year period and opposed the bailouts of GM and Chrysler during the most recent financial crisis.  He believes in balanced budgets and has a knack for offering up his chin to political opponents.

In a farewell speech delivered Saturday at the Indiana Republican Convention in Fort Wayne, Mourdock told the 1,700 delegates in attendance that "The people of Germany in a free election selected the Nazi Party because they made great promises that appealed to them because they were desperate and destitute. And why is that? Because Germany was bankrupt."  He then had the gall to point out that the U.S. was "drifting" toward bankruptcy and would be vulnerable to a charismatic leader like Hitler.

He's wrong.  We're not drifting toward bankruptcy, we're already there.  Of all the attacks on his speech no one bothered to point this out.  Nor did any one challenge his position that when the checks bounce the U.S. or any country would be vulnerable to a charismatic leader who could offer up a whipping boy for the people's rage.  No one wants to believe that government spending can't go on forever.

The mainstream insists that as long as we believe we're not bankrupt, we won't be.  We are what we believe.

Stephen Klapper, vice president of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, spoke for many when he announced that "it's outrageous to equate our nation's legitimate public policy challenges, and the way we choose to address these issues – ideally through civil discourse and rigorous debate – with the way Hitler and his Nazi regime propagated one of civilization's most reprehensible atrocities through lies, terror, and ultimately genocide."

Lies and terror are the heart and soul of government, Mr. Klapper, and have been since forever.  Genocide?  It depends on how appealing other options are when government gets desperate.  FDR turned to war, not genocide, though he had bad things to say about those economic royalists who were sabotaging his program of economic fascism.  And in turning to war we got the Holocaust.

According to the status quo there are no serious challenges to public policy.  Debt can grow forever because we owe it to ourselves.  Through debt we are delivered.  We are all Keynesians now, even if Keynesians were clueless about the arrival of the Financial Crisis.  Armed with a printing press and the congressional courage to spend without restraint government can create prosperity any time it wishes.

The only thing we have to fear is some prominent wise guy telling us the empire is broke.