Crying “Wolf!” …again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Have you noticed that the Bush Administration has a propensity for crying “Wolf!”? Remember the non-existent weapons of mass destruction on the basis of which our Congress voted to authorize what turned out to be a war in Iraq? That’s what I’m talking about.

I think it’s happening again, this time in the form of an assertion that our economy is hanging on by a thread, on the edge of oblivion. Other than the Administration and representatives of the banks and other financial institutions that stand to benefit from a bailout, and the reporters that cover the financial sector, what independent confirmation, what detailed information do we have to confirm that there is a crisis and that, even if there is, it has anything to with the subprime mortgage mess?

How much of the stress the economy may be showing is real, or the result of our government telling everyone how bad things are? If our Secretary of the Treasury and President tell us the economy is tanking, couldn’t that have a depressing effect on consumer spending and business investments? Of course it will. Worse, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more bad news they shout, the more severe their predictions, the worse the impact of those proclamations which those same government leaders then use to justify their warnings.

Our government needs to calm down. Our Congress needs to demand independent proof of the extent of our crisis, and consider alternative solutions. We’ve made this mistake before at the cost of lives that shouldn’t have been lost, and a fortune that could have been spent in so many more productive ways. Rushing to spend our way out of a problem we don’t even understand will be no less costly or more effective at accomplishing objectives we have yet to adequately define.

To paraphrase the old adage … Fool us once, shame on the Bush Administration. Fool us twice, shame on Congress and those of us who failed to raise their hands and say, “No. Not this time.”

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