A Slender Silver Lining to the Bailout?

 Posted by on 14 October 2008 at 1:02 pm  Activism, Economics, Finance, Politics
Oct 142008

Although the economic crisis and subsequent bailout are going to be painful for our country, there may be a very slender silver lining — namely that the loss of money will likely derail some plans for more big government programs.

Here are a two recent examples, one in health care and the other in “green” legislation:

After Bailout, What Will Health Reform Look Like?

A growing number of experts have abandoned all hopes of major health reform. “The bailout makes it that much tougher, because health care will be crowded out by other issues,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of Kaiser Family Foundation…


Efforts on global warming chilled by economic woes

The economic free fall gripping the nation may bring down one of the main environmental objectives: capping the greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming. …[T]he focus on stabilizing the economy probably will make it more difficult to pass a law to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. At the very least, it will push back when the reductions would have to start.

These stories suggest that even if a President Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress wanted to implement these bad ideas, they probably wouldn’t be able to do so immediately, purely because of cost.

(It was similar economic constraints that stopped California from imposing “universal health care” at the state level last year, even though the Democratic state legislature and Republican Governor Schwarzenegger were both strongly in favor of it.)

Obviously, this would just be a temporary reprieve — the liberals’ underlying bad ideology has not changed. And I fully recognize that there are plenty of other bad laws that both the Left and the Right could propose (such as restrictions on free speech) that wouldn’t require much money to implement.

But the economic downturn could buy us a little more time to continue the fight for good ideas. Let’s not waste it…

Update: This New York Times column by David Brooks argues the opposite — that an Obama admininistration would use the financial crisis as the pretext for massively increased government spending, despite the fact that the country will not be able to afford it.

Either way, I think we’ll have our work cut out for us…

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