Thursday, September 18, 2008

Crazy Khrushchev

At the height of the cold war, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev had a famous incident wherein he took off his shoe and banging on the table shouted, "Your children will grow up in communism!" Surely, this must have felt like a moment of triumph for the powers-that-were in the U.S. at the time. If this was their opponent's most eloquent argument, the West would certainly prevail. Well, it's been about a generation since, why don't we check in on old Niki's prognostications.

So what separated us greedy capitalists from the dirty commies? If this were Family Feud, I'd try to convince you all take make our final guess "free markets." But how free are they? Two government-chartered lending institutions who hold a vast majority of the U.S.'s mortgages have found themselves in deed poo. Bailouts are always tricky things. How does anyone learn from bad decisions if the government now provides a safety net? Where's the incentive for wise decision making then? But these two jokers didn't just get a bailout. Oh no. Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum here got straight-up taken over by the Feds. That sounds like a fact you here on NPR and barely give it a second thought, but let that soak in for a second. Uncle Sam (or Big Brother Samuel as Tom and I call him) now owns something like 70% of the homes in America technically. (And Bill Clinton said the era of big government was over.) But the fun hasn't stopped there. Now congress is talking about establishing some department to take on even more of these private companies' bad mortgages.

I propose Niki was not a raving fool. I think he understood something most American are blind to, being this: government's primary behavior is always to sustain and expand itself. And whatever new role or power it undertakes, it never relinquishes. Even a country founded as purly on the principle of self-governance as America needs but a few hundred years of crises before the masses clamor for the federal government to assume greater and greater roles. This is how liberty dies, not with a dramatic, punctuated, and obvious conflict, but through the unintended consequences of well-meaning knee-jerk reactions.

I fear we may be only years away from a law stating mortgages may only be handed out by the federal government. (For our protection of course.) And then, I feel a certain Mr. Khrushchev's sour countenance will change to victorious grin in his grave.


Candace Chaney said...

interesting and chilling. and spoken like a true Libertarian. Love it.

Anonymous said...

at least you always manage to make me laugh while you exlpain the unavoidable doom.