In a sign that may reveal much about the current deal-making environment in Washington, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has outmaneuvered the Obama Administration in the design of the massive $827 billion so-called Economic Stimulus Package. With the collusion of three moderate Republican Senators – Collins, Snowe and Specter – Pelosi may succeed in steering President Obama into supporting a package with which he may secretly disagree.
Despite the Presidential rhetoric of change, the Pelosi plan is Washington at its most habitual. Her version is a massive, pork-laden monster. Tilted heavily towards consumption, only 10 percent of the bill is allocated toward the infrastructure spending that the President talked about so frequently during the campaign. President Obama initially favored a middle-way. It was to be based on massive public spending, but specifically on infrastructure.
Far from restoring the economy to health, the ‘pork-barrel’ Pelosi plan will likely force the U.S. economy into the catastrophe of acute stagflation and decline, with grave long-term repercussions at home and abroad.
It is clear that we are now headed into an abnormally severe recession, and we may be face-to-face with Second Great Depression. Tell-tale symptoms of Depression include competitive currency devaluations and protective trade measures. Of even greater concern is the historic fact that trade wars too often lead to hot wars. The times of peace and unprecedented prosperity that we have enjoyed for decades are now under threat.
With the stakes this high, Pelosi should have restrained her urge to flex political muscle.
Most economists agree that America has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, based primarily on excessive U.S. dollar liquidity and unmanageable levels of debt. Thus, any healthy correction would necessarily involve serious deleveraging and a severe recession. After a lot of pain, the economy would rebuild with healthier fundamentals. Infrastructure improvement would aid, but not cause, the eventual recovery.
Recession is the natural cure for the politically inspired profligacy that America has enjoyed for almost 40 years. Unfortunately, the side effects of this medicine, namely the rapid reallocation of labor resources and deflationary damage to debtors, are still unpalatable to pandering politicians.
The Washington regime, particularly members of the Democrat persuasion, leans towards a socialist solution of avoiding recession at any cost. After all, the bills are paid by others, such as taxpayers and holders of U.S. dollars. This results in an increasing amount of other peoples’ money being spent on ‘public’ works that would in other times carry the label ‘pork barrel.’
Washington is choosing to pursue the policy of continued and ever-increasing false prosperity, financed eventually by hyper-taxation, hyper-debt and hyper-inflation accompanied by a gradually eroded standard of living. The jobs created by the Bill are by and large non-productive, and will divert resources from the private sector and rob consumers of their power to make free choices in the marketplace.
America’s infrastructure is in great need of restoration. By some estimates, for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure, some 35,000 real, wealth-creating jobs are born in the private sphere. For ‘just’ $100 billion, 3.5 million jobs would result. Furthermore, this middle-way of Obama’s likely would have commanded much greater bi-partisan support than the lonely Republican trio which attached their names to Pelosi’s bill.
Unfortunately for American and international investors, Speaker Pelosi pressured the President into the worst of all plans. It will likely bring on a economic catastrophe, characterized by depression followed by hyper-stagflation and civil unrest. Pelosi’s power-play may buy her political status, but the entire world will pay the price.