Elmer Gantry Economics

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A vast potential for infernal mischief can be found in some otherwise harmless adverbs. Let us examine the specific case of the seemingly inoffensive modifier “normally.”

Incorrigible cynic that I am, I’ve long believed that any sentence that begins with the word “normally” is an exercise in deception, generally taking the form of special pleading. Whatever follows the word “normally” is something morally objectionable that I should summarily reject, but am being asked to countenance just this one time. Or so I’m being told to believe.

In a radio commentary for Focus on the Family broadcast yesterday before the congressional vote on the Economic Dictatorship Enabling Act, Gary Bauer quite generously vindicated my belief.

“Normally, we would not want to bail out people that made wrong decisions,” Bauer began in his familiar tone of adenoidal sanctimony. In terms of making his case, Bauer lost me at “normally” — but I listened anyway, as my enraged disgust took control of my jaw and put two very expensive dental crowns at risk.

“This crisis, if left unattended, could hurt people that made right decisions,” Bauer simpered. “This [bailout] is not rewarding bad decisions. This is an attempt to prevent those bad decisions from hurting people that had no part in them.”

Actually, those of us who had no part in those “bad decisions” are already being hurt. And we’re in for much greater pain in the future. That much is out of our hands. The ber-Bailout would do nothing to protect the relatively innocent and powerless. However, it would greatly palliate the deserved pain of those who are powerful and guilty. And it would end — “temporarily,” which in the lexicon of government power is a functional synonym for “forever” — the ability of the common people to compel elected representatives to combat the schemes of the Bankster Elite.

The FED’s counterfeiting press (or its digital analog) has been tirelessly churning wealth siphoned from our paychecks and savings into the butter it slathers on the bread of the corporate elite. This pilferage will continue whether or not Congress actually passes a bailout measure, as it probably will (most likely in a post-election lame duck session).

The Paulson Plan simply proposed to sever the one thin, fraying thread of accountability still connecting the economic elite to the people it is plundering. That thread is Congress’s constitutional role in appropriating funds and overseeing the executive branch personnel who spend them.

Paulson, acting on behalf of the corporatist plunderbund, wanted to snip that thread decisively, albeit with a grave sense of agonized reluctance amid a unique financial crisis.

Bear in mind, of course, that this is something Paulson would not normally propose. Heh.

Bauer’s moral reasoning, such as it is, dictates that while it’s a sin to steal a hundred dollars to feed your family, stealing $700 billion to salve the bank accounts of wealthy criminals is an act of Christian statecraft. Both of those acts are sins and crimes, of course. And it’s important to remember that the Christian Gospels — regarded as the truth, or merely an interesting collection of moral teachings — make it clear that Jesus didn’t define sin on a sliding scale favoring the rich and powerful.

The remedy for sin, in all circumstances, is repentance — acknowledgement of the evil one has done, an attempt to make restitution, and an earnest effort fully to turn away from the sin. None of this would be accomplished by the ber-Bailout whose purported necessity provided Gary Bauer with an opportunity to display his utter moral idiocy.

Joining Gary Bauer in offering a sermon on the supposed virtue of shaking down the poor to comfort the rich was Christian financial advisor Rob West.

“I really believe that we will see most of this money returned to the taxpayer,” West began in the unctuous tone of a practiced con-man, “because as they buy up these loans at a discount the government will use their balance sheet to hold these loans and then sell them once market prices recover and stabilize…. There really is good evidence that the government can get most of this back.” (Emphasis added.)

This is an exquisite example of a multi-layered lie — a veritable Napoleon pastry of prevarication, in fact.

Let’s begin with the italicized words “taxpayer” and “government.” When West began this exercise in artful dishonesty, he assured the anxious listener that the money spent to provide a cushion for corrupt financial institutions would be returned to the taxpayers from whom it would be taken. By the end, we’re told that the money would actually be “returned” to the government. Obviously, this not the same thing as returning it to those from whom the money would be stolen.

In the middle of this noxious confection we find a blend of two related and thoroughly toxic untruths. The first is that government, through coercive redistribution of wealth, can inject “value” into something innately worthless, such as a pile of irredeemably corrupt mortgage securities. The second is that the inflated prices that we saw during the housing bubble were normal, and that the ongoing decline is an aberration.

What West doesn’t explain is this: If these feculent mortgage bonds are such a spectacular bargain, why aren’t they being snapped up by contrarian investors?

Behind West’s assurances we can find the tacit understanding that the purpose of the ber-Bailout is to continue the process of inflation, the ongoing theft of the value of what we earn and save through adulteration of the currency. Yet West — whose advice is worth at least as much as, but no more than, a Zimbabwean dollar — maintains that the Bailout would have no inflationary impact:

“Certainly the American family has already felt increased prices at the gas pump and the grocery store. And I don’t think necessarily that we’ll see a marked increase in that just based on this proposal alone[.]“

Here we see West taking refuge in another mischievous adverb — “necessarily” — while pretending that “this [$700 billion] proposal alone” would be the sole and final act of larceny.

Like so many other sycophants in saintly guise, West couples his solicitude for the powerful with stern advice for the weak. It may be a moral duty to relieve the super-rich of their self-inflicted burdens, but the poor and struggling are owed no similar succor.

“One of the messages for the American Christian is that we have to heed the counsel of scripture,” cooed West. “Take the opportunity now to make sure you live within your means. Take the opportunity to start paying off your debt and shoring up your financial foundation. Make sure you have some long-term plans.”

All of this is impeccably sound advice, but it is difficult to see how any of us can reinforce our financial foundation when the FED and its accomplices can fatally undermine it through inflation. West is demanding that people support a policy that will bring their conscientious efforts to nought, and nullify any long-term plans they make.

The ever-deepening financial crisis presents us with an opportunity and necessity to do something that is no fun at all: Repent.

To repent, once again, is to turn completely away from one’s present course. As individuals and as a nation we cannot continue to live on debt (or on “credit,” as it’s commonly called). There are already plentiful indications that American households are reining in their spending, foregoing luxuries of various kinds, and “hoarding cash.” Banks are engaging in the same behavior. All of this is good and necessary — and, admittedly, painful. In other words, it is a species of repentance, one the Big Bailout (and the subsequent interventions) would be intended to discourage, if not reverse.

Economic repentance, to be effective, can’t be merely the private affair of the public. The government ruling us cannot continue the imperial foreign policy that has received the conspicuous benediction of Palace Prophets like James Dobson and Gary Bauer — the latter being Dobson’s representative in the neo-”conservative” warmaking network.

Why would a Christian political spokesman such as Gary Bauer miss such an obvious opportunity to preach repentance? Why would he choose to placate the powerful at the expense of the poor?

I suspect the answer may have something to do with Bauer’s other affiliations.

Bauer was a founding member of the Project for a New American Century, the Beltway camarilla that was the womb in which the Iraq war gestated for several years. He is on the board of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a group that wishes to organize the entire world around the nucleus of U.S.-Israeli military domination.

A similar ambition animates the Jerusalem Summit, an organization on whose international advisory board sits the same Gary Bauer. The Jerusalem Summit’s chief objective is to create an Israel-centered, armed “League of Democracies.” That proposal that has been taken up by John McCain, the deranged, senescent, foul-mouthed adulterer who won the endorsement of James Dobson — the country’s foremost self-appointed Christian family counselor — by convincing a mother of five children, including a newborn infant with a serious handicap, to forsake home and hearth for the vice presidential hustings.

Like too many “Christian” Right leaders, Dobson and Bauer are devout servants of the War Machine, which cannot operate without the fiat money system inflicted on our nation in 1913. They profess to worship Christ, while serving Mars and Mammon. That may explain the double-mindedness displayed by Bauer and West in their homily in support of the post-Housing Bubble Heist.

Dum spiro, pugno!

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] writes the Pro Libertate blog.

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