Jeff Lukens
A crisis too great to waste
By Jeff Lukens
January 21, 2009

So Barack Obama proposes massive government spending like we have never seen before as our way back to economic prosperity. Yet wasn't it a mountain of unpayable debt that got us into this financial crisis in the first place? The rivers of red ink he proposes would make FDR and LBJ blush. This approach may have worked politically for FDR and LBJ, but neither time did it work economically for the country. It may work politically for Obama too, but deficit spending will not work economically today either.

Banana republics are known for this kind of governance. It is a recipe for a treasury default or hyperinflation that no industrialized county has seen since Germany's Weimar Republic in the 1920s. And that debacle sewed the seeds for the despotism of the Third Reich.

Obama is a smart guy. He can't possibly be naive enough to think more debt piled on the existing $10.6 trillion national debt is the solution to the economic mess we are in. Recessions are a natural part of the economic cycle and only market forces can correct them. One can only wonder about his true motives.

A common characteristic of all authoritarian regimes is the need to control their populace by some crisis, real or imagined. Could it be that the genuine financial crisis we now face will give Obama and the Left a ready-made excuse to regulate, tax, socialize and otherwise control our lives in unprecedented ways?

Over the past year, the American public has learned a bit about community organizers from Chicago. The first among them to come to mind is Barack Obama. Then there is William Ayres. However, another individual is the mentor to them all. He is Saul Alinsky.

Alinsky is considered a father of American radicalism. His 1971 book, "Rules for Radicals" laid out the uncompromising tactics necessary to force radical change upon society. These rules have come to define the lawless methods of Leftist protestors and activists since the Vietnam era. Now, more than ever, the disregard of constitutional principles by the Left threatens the personal liberties of all Americans.

Obama is the latest and most successful Alinkyite ever to gain power. He is a charismatic cross between a 1960s radical and a Chicago machine politician. His campaign was a testament to the policy of having no principle other than to do whatever was necessary to win.

To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, this is certainly a crisis too great for the Left to waste. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to push their agenda wholesale upon the American people. The worsening recession opens the way for government intervention on a scale greater than the New Deal or the Great Society. A Republican administration has already paved the way. And the people, wanting action, will accept any stimulus package of any size no matter what the consequences to the deficit.

Fear makes normally constitutionally minded people behave in strange ways. When someone is about to lose his job or her life savings, most people will sacrifice their personal freedoms to prevent that from happening. Self-survival trumps rationality, and the herd mentality soon becomes mob rule. The rule of law becomes the rule of men. In such an emotionally charged atmosphere, most people run to anyone who offers them any glimmer of hope. And for many people today, that person is Barack Obama.

As Obama said recently, "this painful crisis also gives us an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people." Transformation is a key word. Crisis gives him the opportunity, and now he has the personal mandate to do it.

The erosions of the constitutional liberties will probably be gradual. Each step will have its explanation. The fawning media will cheer it on. And Obama will provide a reasoned justification for it all. Yet it is an illusion. The skeptics among us would say the real game is about tightening the Leftist grip on power.

Think about it. We have the $700 billion TARP bailout and an $800 billion stimulus package. These come in addition to the $407 billion general deficit , plus more than $140 billion for AIG, more than $100 billion for Fannie and Freddie, $29 billion for Bear Stearns, $20 billion for CitiGroup, and $25 billion for the auto companies. While some of funds overlap and will be recovered, it is fair to say the total deficit will far exceed $1 trillion. And all that is before Obama takes office. Then there is his promise of universal health care and other social programs.

Federal, state and local government spending already consumes about one-third of the Gross Domestic Product. Obama proposals, if enacted, could conceivably grow the total government spending to more than 40 percent of the GDP. Obama seems to believe we can borrow our way out a crisis that was created by borrowing in the first place. It is a house of cards.

We are headed either for national bankruptcy or inflation so great that the dollar becomes worthless. Crisis drives fear, which drives rapid change in our national fabric toward collective socialism. Once the people become dependant on a government rescue in their lives, the social programs Obama enacts will become a fixture in Washington never to be undone. It is all right out of the Alinsky playbook.

Constitutionally minded people have fought the socialist agenda for years. Yet they've never fought it with so much of government controlled by the Left while led by such a charismatic leader. Soon enough, Bush will be a memory and Obama will own the economic mess with no answers except more government. Unemployment, inflation, and other economic maladies will painfully show themselves no matter what spin is used to explain them.

Conservatives must frame the conversation in a reasoned way based on less regulation and the unharnessing of free enterprise. Therein lies the only true strategy for renewed economic growth. The conservative position will require a very energetic and skillful response by the GOP to stop the incremental governmental control over society by the Obama and the Left. It will require Republicans to pull themselves together and rediscover the principles for which they truly stand. Let's hope they can do it before it is too late.

© Jeff Lukens


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Jeff Lukens

Jeff Lukens is a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran. He is also a conservative Christian activist, patriot, rabble-rouser, community organizer, street agitator, freedom warrior, and all-around good guy. He writes from a fresh, conservative point of view.


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