In last year’s hit movie, The Dark Knight, there is a classic scene between Alfred and Bruce Wayne. A befuddled Bruce cannot figure out what the Joker is actually trying to gain, and he is sharing his consternation with Alfred. Alfred responds by telling Bruce that some men are just different and, in one of the great lines of the movie, states bluntly, “Some men just want to see the world burn.”
While it is quite early on in the new administration’s term in office, it appears to be behaving in exactly this way. Obama is playing the part of the Joker to perfection, aided and abetted by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The only difference being that, instead of wearing a clown’s face, he has chosen to look promising and speak lofty words of nothingness as he and the other Democratic leaders push the nation ever closer to economic collapse.
Ignoring any sound economic principles, these leaders have carved a path of prodigality unmatched in American history. It seems as if they desire the total economic failure of the country.
To be sure, the Bush administration has left the nation ravaged by its excess spending and monetary expansion that undergirded the housing bubble. Indeed, during his eight years in office, federal spending ballooned from $1.8 trillion per year to nearly $3 trillion. That is a 67% increase! But while Bush radically expanded the size and scope of government, Obama and the Democrats plan the absolute explosion of it. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year’s federal spending will top $3.5 trillion, with a deficit in excess of $1 trillion. And this number was forecasted prior to the passage of the so-called “stimulus bill.”
Imagine Bush as a drunken sailor in port for the first time in a year. He goes into a casino in Atlantic City, sits down at a thousand-dollar-a-hand blackjack table, and promptly loses a million dollars. Obama comes in as Bush’s replacement, and the casino seats him in Bush’s old chair. While bemoaning the situation, Obama tells us we must end this failed policy by moving up to the ten-thousand-a-hand table and doubling down. Of course, this makes no sense whatsoever, and the sane person would quickly back away. But sanity appears not to be present anywhere in Washington these days.
For far too long now, we have allowed our leaders to take us in this direction. In earlier days our leaders did so mainly to line their own pockets and those of their favored friends. These days, however, it seems that they are merely driven by their own ideological madness. And we have been too busy to pay enough attention to understand the situation and to resist it. Neither Bush nor Obama could do the things they have done or are doing had there not been a long history of governmental abuses. To not understand this now will lead to even greater abuse in the future.
“If there is any hope for our economic future, we must come to a sound understanding of what got us here.”
This was my motivation for my new book, titled Unmasking the Sacred Lies. I wanted to help busy Americans come to grips with the current economic situation and to understand the long political process of change that has led us here.
If there is to be any hope for our economic future, we must come to a sound understanding of what got us here. With that in mind, I put together a book that paints the big picture. It traces the economic history of each policy area in order to demonstrate how each law passed by Congress and enforced by our government has pushed us into this hole that we find ourselves in today.
It is my firm belief that providing the average person with the right information in a readily understandable format can make a difference. I only hope that it is not too late, and that we do not have to watch America burn.
Mises Daily by Paul A. Cleveland