The ineptitude of the federal government during the current economic difficulties is monumental. After two years of floundering around, it still has not resolved the problem that is threatening its own survival, which is an insolvent banking system. It has not really recognized what the problem is. It has hastily devised solutions to this dimly perceived problem. The solutions it has come up with have then failed to come to grips with the problem.
The Obama administration is continuing the ineptitude of the Bush administration. Trillions of dollars have been and will be thrown at the problem without getting the federal government out of its mess, which is also our mess. Government acts slowly, lacks insight, chooses wrong policies, prolongs problems, and makes problems worse. This is all shown clearly in the current episode. It was shown just as clearly when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It was shown in the New Deal, which failed to resolve the Great Depression. It has been shown in American foreign policy for a hundred years. Why else would millions of Americans have wondered why we are in Iraq or why an earlier generation wondered why we were in Vietnam? The inherent ineptitude of government can never be underestimated.
We Americans bear the costs of this ineptitude. We are made to fight in wars that are supposedly for national security but that are unnecessary. We are made to pay in blood and treasure. Every war substitutes investment in bombs and death for investment that would benefit us and our children. Every bailout burdens us with interest payments on perpetual debt while prolonging economic bad times. Even if the government were not now raising the odds of its own demise, we would need to be thinking seriously about what comes afterwards.
One of the basic needs of life is security. I suspect that most of us do not quite realize this in a fully conscious way. We almost automatically see to it that we get a measure of security. When we are young, we perhaps think a lot less about security. We are usually in good health, we can earn money, we can change jobs if we have to, old-age is a long ways off, we have parents to rely on and so on. This problem of security needs to be brought out into the open and discussed, because if people do not believe that they can get security when they have liberty, then they will not want liberty. If people believe that only the government can provide them with security and not they themselves, given liberty, then they will remain attached to government and spurn liberty.
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