"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!"
That might be the perfect phrase if you are laying siege to a fortressed city, not so good if you are tossing limited resources into the bottomless money pit that is our Federal government.
Thomas Sowell is not pre-disposed to such tomfoolery. Growing up in Harlem, his optimistic notions of the benefits of government interventions were rudely shattered when he spent a year working as an economist with the Department of Labor. It is with this eye of experience that he views statements of our Treasury Secretary:
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says, "We're facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country." People talk that way in Liberal Land. Moreover, such statements pass muster with those who simply take in the words, decide whether they sound nice to them, and then move on.And still we hear our problems will all be solved if we just spend ... more. A trillion dollars were spent to 'stimulate' the economy, and the result is unemployment near 10%, 20% if you count all those who gave up looking. Despite this the solution tossed our way is to blow another 500 billion... 500 billion that we do not have.
But, if you take words seriously, the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, "as a country" — which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us.
The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.
The world of reality is not nearly as lovely as the world of Liberal Land. No wonder so many people want to go there.Yes, but you and I get to live here, in reality.