Our Proud Heritage

Several days ago, Marc Ambinder reported that conservative think tanks were told to keep quiet on the bailout. Now the Heritage Foundation has released a borderline incoherent response entitled “The Bailout Package: Vital and Acceptable.”

At first blush, Heritage seems to endorse the proposal:

While there are those in Congress who would push the role of government far beyond what is necessary in this crisis, the core technical parts of the negotiated package are acceptable. Important protections for taxpayers have been added to the original plan. And while some questionable and potentially counterproductive features have also been added, other egregious proposals—such as enormous handouts to activist housing groups—were stripped away during the negotiations. Taken together, the main financial measures are likely to accomplish the goal, and the unwise measures are sufficiently limited to warrant passage.

But then the authors suggest that key provisions remain unconstitutional:

Thus serious constitutional concerns remain and should be addressed in putting together a statute to deal with this current and hopefully temporary credit emergency. The constitutional questionability of some provisions is worrying, as is the centralization of power. Nonetheless, the situation is so grave that we must take unusual measures now and accept some negotiated arrangements that remain very troubling, provided they are limited in extent and time and are not accepted as a permanent part of our government.

This maddeningly vague formulation – what exactly should a “statute to deal with this current and hopefully temporary credit emergency” look like? – gets at the fundamental bankruptcy of movement conservatism. Provided there’s an emergency of sufficient magnitude, “serious constitutional concerns” can be brushed aside without so much as a backward glance.

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1 Comment

Filed under Conservatism, Economics

One response to “Our Proud Heritage

  1. There are a number of things that have lead us to this financial crisis including lax regulation and enforcement of existing regulations. There has been glut of greed on Wall street and poor leadership in Washington. And the one thing nobody wants to talk about and that is our personal behavior.

    We’ve heard some talk about our addiction to oil, but our addictions go much further than that. We are addicted to stuff. More, bigger, newer stuff.

    Since when does a middle class family of four need 4 cars, 3 or more televisions per household, a home over 2000 square feet? We are living way beyond our means. We have become highly addicted to credit and debt. It’s pushed on us by financial institutions, automobile dealerships, retailers, mortgage brokers and even our institutions of higher learning. Celebrities endorse credit cards, politicians are financed largely by lenders who increasingly game the system creating newer and ever more complex financial “products”.

    Financial “products” are NOT products at all. They are shell game schemes to make money by moving debt around.

    Until we as a people start using our brains and not our emotions in our every day lives, this cycle of debt will continue to grow and destroy our economy.

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