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Federal and state stimulus -- the biggest political con job in history

By Steve Nass

The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

In times of crisis there are always individuals that will take advantage of pain and suffering to promote or advance their particular agendas. There is no question that the people of the United States are confronted with the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. It is during these times that common sense and rational thinking is displaced by fear and haste to act. These are the conditions necessary for the political con-artists to strike—and strike it big.

Nationally, President-Elect Obama and some Democrats are now publicly panting for a massive “stimulus” plan to save the American people from certain economic disaster. These folks fail to provide any specific details of this omnibus government intervention, but they can tell us it may cost up to $1 trillion. That’s right “tr” trillion.

In Wisconsin, Governor Doyle excitedly forwarded President-Elect Obama a spending buffet exceeding more than $3 billion in requests for building projects, road construction and other spending initiatives. This was followed up by calls from legislative Democrats to raise state taxes to fund a Wisconsin Stimulus package to save the people of this state from the ravages of an economy in a death spiral.

These Democrats tell us the money will be spent by government to build things, to increase spending on entitlement programs, to provide limited tax cuts and bailout even more troubled industries. They also tell us that the current crisis was caused by greed and the orgy of wasteful spending advanced to help the corporate puppet masters pulling the strings of Republicans in Washington, D.C. and Madison. In the end, the purveyors of this economic gospel want us all to believe that only government can solve this crisis.

Of course, central to any con job, fact must be mixed in with fiction to create the proper illusion to confuse and overwhelm the unsuspecting targets of this endeavor - the American taxpayer. It is true that Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. and Madison failed morally and intellectually during their time in power. It is true that the country faces the greatest economic challenge in nearly 100 years. It is true that greed and wasteful government spending are fundamental reasons fueling the financial inferno.

If you believe that greed is a serious part of the problem, do you then offer solutions that reward both individual and corporate greed? Our economy is sick with many ailments, including the fever and hangover of unchecked greed. However, the Obama and Doyle plans clearly reward greed by bailing out more industries and unions to prevent the necessary corrections that must occur. These industries have been poorly managed and financially ruined by both overpaid executives and union bosses.

Greed drove individuals, businesses and governments to spend beyond their means by borrowing money at levels unsustainable under any system of economics. These same Democrat political leaders pound their chests in indignation because we are sending wealth overseas by buying Chinese produced goods or importing oil from the Middle East. However, President-Elect Obama and Governor Doyle apparently have no problem financing their “stimulus” spending with the world’s largest new credit request, financed heavily with money from China and Middle Eastern investors.

If you believe wasteful government spending helped sap the strength of the economy, do you then offer proposals that will require some of the largest tax increases in U.S. and world history? Government didn’t spend its way out of the Great Depression and today’s proposals for building municipal swimming pools, mob museums and a plethora of other government facilities will not save us from the fiscal transformation that must come from spending less and reducing debt.

The American consumer accounts for roughly 2/3 of our country’s economic life. Government spending can’t change this reality or replace the private sector engine in advancing our economic well-being. The American consumer, private sector and public sector need to take actions that responsibly reduce existing debt levels, avoid massive new debt and re-create an economic vitality driven by reasonable credit policies and government regulations.

The current fiscal policy solutions being offered by President-Elect Obama and Governor Doyle intend to place government on the same level with the private sector in driving the economy. Such a systemic transformation will guarantee crippling taxes on families, unionized government bureaucrats controlling everyday business decisions, and liberal activists mandating how you eat, sleep and live.

This is why President-Elect Obama and Governor Doyle are using fear and a haste to act, to prevent people from applying common sense in deliberating on their agenda. I am confident that if the people of America and Wisconsin were given the real cost details of these stimulus plans, they would determine that punishing the offspring of our children to pay off this debt would not only be a con job, but an immoral action for a democratic society.

-- Nass is a Republican state representative from Whitewater.

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