Oregon Magazine


We the people: must unfog the political mirror

                  If it weren't so tragic, I would relish watching the incredibly impossible position that our Democrat governor and legislators in Salem have found and gotten themselves into.  Having made a profession of borrowing from the future, they find themselves confused when the financial future suddenly arrives.  They won and retained power over the last two decades by convincing enough voters they and their friends in Congress could continue to keep the money and goodies flowing, alongside enacting a plethora of environmental and energy laws and regulations, and appointing environmentalists to virtually every agency controlling industry and development.  They succeeded advancing their social and environmental philosophy because their similarly-minded liberals in Congress created a culture of federal grants, social engineering and targeted tax incentives.  Many Republicans promoted this culture too because it brought pork projects to some of their home states as well.

A green economy

There appeared to be unlimited funds drawn from magical sources to satisfy every politician’s fantasy, coupled with the decades’ newest Big Thing:  saving the planet from carbon dioxide.  In those twenty-odd years a benign gas was legislatively transformed from a component scientifically essential for life on this planet to one deemed to be creating victims in every corner of the earth.  It was a politicians’ perfect storm--victims to save everywhere, villains who produced the dreaded CO2, and unlimited funds to educate the masses and control those responsible.  During this time, Al Gore transformed himself from a losing presidential candidate to an international film star whose wisdom was next to Gaia's.  Everything was finally being ordered as it should.

Seining the public purse

The decades’ accumulation of environmental mandates was exhilarating to a liberal Congress.  So they thought of other things deemed to be wonderful too, in the form of real estate for everyone.  This multi-decade attempt met reality in 2008, when the free flow of Congressionally created dollars met the natural limits of arithmetic.  Congress tried but could not produce the unlimited expansion of home ownership to everyone who could fog a mirror.  Nor could it fix its mess with the even more mathematically impossible idea of throwing trillions of dollars at a pesky economy by way of calling something a Recovery Act.  Unemployment continued up, and economic recovery didn’t happen.  It couldn’t happen because in the end, the laws of both science and mathematics are beyond the scope and control of Congress. 

Progressives cutting economic progress

With businesses foundering, entrepreneurs holding off unable to predict what Congress will do next to try to control the laws of economics, and even federal monopoly money drying up, Oregon’s governor-elect ex-governor and his Democrat controlled legislature will have to do what they have no history or experience to do: allocate scarce resources, budget with a capital B, actually reduce expenditures vs. just reducing the amount of growth, and at the same time keep all their union & environmental constituencies happy.  It will be impossible, and, as I say, it would be fun to watch except it's going to be a tragedy for Oregon.  While Democrats in the Oregon legislature, Congress and our young, inexperienced, clueless President attempt to control the uncontrollable, life has to continue in the homes of ordinary citizens who have been essentially forgotten in the entire process of legislating what legislators thought was best for them.

The arrogance of the political eletes

The history of free nations has proven that tyrants, strong men, kings, dictators, aristocracies and the tyranny of the majority cannot decide better than the citizenry as a whole via a free market.  Even benevolent dictators cannot choose the most efficient and beneficial path for economic bliss better than the unwashed and unfettered masses whose collective choices are vastly superior to the so-called wisdom of the elites or powerful.

Does a nation need ashes from which to rise?

Thus we come to today, where it is frightful to this student of economics and history.  I am reasonably sure that a further meltdown of the economic order of Oregon and perhaps the United States is going to have to occur before the decisions by those currently in effective control are made to reverse the decades of top-down, economic ignorance.  I truly wish it weren’t so.  The image of a night time Tea Party quietly boarding the ships of Congress and the White House and throwing the residents all out the windows may have to materialize to save this place.

                                                 -- Art Hyland

© 2011 Art Hyland