Get PJ Media on your Apple

Works and Days

How to Weaken an Economy

March 11th, 2013 - 12:16 am

It is not easy to ruin the American economy; doing nothing usually means it repairs itself and soon is healthier than before a recession.

But don’t despair: there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies — the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let’s review some of them.

Government

The state can never be too big. Ensure that it is unaccountable and intrusive, in constant need of more money and more targets to regulate. The more government, the more people are shielded from the capital-creating, free-market system. Think the DMV or TSA, not Apple. The point is for an employee to spend each labor hour with less oversight, while regulating or hampering profit-making, rather than competing with like kind to create material wealth. Regulatory bodies are a two-fer: the more federal, union employees, the more regulations to hamper the private sector. The more federal mandates, like new health-care requirements and financial reporting, the less employers profit and the fewer employees they can hire. Washington should be a growth city, absolutely immune from the downturn elsewhere, a sort of huge and growing octopus head with decaying tentacles. State jobs should be redefined as something partisan — whose expansion is noble and helps the helpless, and whose contraction is evil and the design of a bitter and aging white private-sector class.

On the other end of the equation, ensuring 50 million on food stamps, putting over 80,000 a month on Social Security disability insurance, and extending unemployment insurance to tens of millions all remind the jobless that life is not too bad (thanks to the government), and certainly a lot better than working at a “low-paid” job that equates to giving up federal support. To paraphrase Paul Krugman, the more and the longer the jobless receive, the less likely they are to take chances looking for a job. That too might be again a good thing if you wish to slow down the economy. In general, even Arnold Toynbee, a man of the Left, acknowledged that the greedy drive of the scrambling private sector was not as pernicious to civilizations as the collective ennui produced by vast cadres of lethargic and unaccountable public “servants” doing supposedly noble work.

The Law

To ensure capriciousness and unpredictability for both suspect employers and investors, make the law malleable, even unpredictable from day to day, in the style of an Argentina or Venezuela. Redefine the law as what is deemed socially useful. For federally subsidized bankrupt auto companies, creditors should be paid back on the basis not of contractual law, but of nobility — why borrow to give a rich man a return on his superfluous investment, when a retired auto worker might have to pay a higher health care premium? Boeing wants to open a non-union plant in South Carolina? Have the NLRB try to stop it (and illegally staff the NLRB with recess appointments). Illegal aliens? They are neither illegal nor aliens, as federal immigration law is itself a capricious construct. Does the Senate really have to present a budget? Do presidents need to meet budget deadlines? Who said there is a Defense of Marriage Act?

What law says that gays cannot serve overtly in the military or women cannot fight at the front — some reactionary construct? The point is to restore a simulacrum of popular sovereignty: the law is what 51% of the people are perceived by technocrats to want on any given day. I would hammer away at legal fictions like the very idea of borrowing and paying back loans and debts. Soon the popular culture would respond in kind, and run ads constantly on radio, TV, and the Internet in a way rare just a generation ago: how to renegotiate IRS debt, how to renegotiate mortgages, how to renegotiate credit card debt, and how to renegotiate student loan debt.

The man who owes $50,000 has been taken advantage of; the man who is owed $50,000 already has enough without being paid back. The aim is to create a general climate where when one borrows, one does not necessarily have to the pay back the full sum for a variety of legitimate considerations. The more bubbles — housing, student loan, credit card — the more avenues for government intervention and relief. Do all that and perhaps lending itself might slow down, again not a bad thing for our purposes. The debtor, not the lender, is the true American success, as our collective debt underscores.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
How to Weaken an Economy: Elect a community organizer President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1) Refuse to produce a budget

2)Propagandize the media so you are not held accountable

3)Make a full assault on success, defining it as "giving more, getting less"

4)Crush the job creators, small business and the entrepreneur with inane and unwieldy regulations, fines and assessments

5)Hang out with Hollywood stars and pop culture icons to look cool

And tell them you are doing it for "the middle class". Rinse, repeat...and condition the masses.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Re:Unfairness- Author Shelby Steele has written that in 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, number of black leaders created a phenomenon called, "White Guilt." That instead of focusing on creating Black Capitalism which would enrich the black community and contribute to the national wealth, the "man" had to be made to "pay for his past discrimination." The result of this type of thinking led to many federal programs that failed and also weakened the fabric of the black family. However, he also points out that white politicians adopted "White Guilt" and used it as a currency to demonstrate their lack of racism and secure votes. This combination of "thinking" spilled over into other "oppressed groups" i.e. Latinos, women, illegal immigrants, gays, etc. and has evolved into the venomous "identity politics" that slows our growth down today by creating animosity. It was a distraction from the real problem in 1964, and remains so today.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (60)
All Comments   (60)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
What would this economy look like without the Feds spending 85 BILLION a month on long term US bonds? Remember, printed money that has no real value.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, it does. That's why they're printing it.
What you're describing is the hyperinflationary debasement of the currency.
Bing: Financial Repression. Read the scholarly papers on it.
It functions as a Wealth Tax -- to balance the budgets of fiat issuing sovereign governments.
It's a loopy way of collecting taxes -- by devious means.
Spread the news.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Stand-up and fight back; do not give an inch to the Marxist anti-freedom Democrat Party!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Be careful folks. Don't give them any ideas. I think the business cycle is turning, if anemically. However the Eat-the-cake-twice-plus-save-it-too gang could always torpedo the country yet again…
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Our national energy trade deficit is shrinking fast.
Hence jobs and money are staying on shore at a hefty clip.
Buraq has done all that can be done to stop it, but this favorable trend won't slow down.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are truly in trouble when we let the government create problems that then the government demands money from us to solve. Our messed up health care system being a prime example.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In passing, those of us who (more or less) agree with VDH will note how inept the GOP has been in selling any of this to the electorate. To be blunt, Romney couldn't sell s*** to a toilet, yet there seem to be many on this site who wouldn't change a thing. That's one way to spot those who are part of the problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Brazil has to be added to this cocktail of perverse, socialistic type economies.
See, "spending (redistributing a nations wealth) a Nation's way to prosperity" is typically a tyrant's M.O. America's Democratic form of government works (checks and balances). What doesn't work is crony-capitalism and We The Elite People of culture of corruption in Washington DC. Recent historical examples? New York's Tammany Hall, Chicago's "Daly Machine," and America's erosion of electorate's confidence in it's ability to "self-govern!"
Enter a sea change of immigrants, to the USA, from foreign countries (legal or illegal) where nothing in their homelands, is understood about "self governance" and "Rule of Law."
The stage is set for:1) a spreading cancer of indifference, 2)erosion of America's democratic form of governance and3) gerry-mandering of all elections and electoral processes (just like in Central and South America).
Yes, Latin American style democracy is rapidly becoming the new "normal" in all these USA. Soon, America will be just like the rest of Central and South America... socialistic basket cases or permanent "debtor nations."Pray. Amen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Government- ice on the wings of progress.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another good one.

Government is also regulating the heck out of everything and different bureaucracies often have conflicting rules. One bureau says that a food preparation area must be cleaned every so often. Another bureaucracy says that that same area must be kept dry at all times. This is how business owners end up a with a long shelf sagging under the weight of a dozen or more books of regulations written in brain killing legalese.

There is a way around that: hire an expensive compliance. However, few small business owners can afford one, even many midsized companies can't, not in this economy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's right, but the huge mega corporations or large competitors can afford it. That is how you destroy the mom and pops, the middle class.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, have our central bank print money backed by nothing, buy about 85 billion worth of our long term treasuries every month. That should give the appearance of a strong economy.......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How to Weaken an Economy: Elect a community organizer President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All