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Ron Paul and the End of The American Dream

weber-logoIt would be easy-or rather convenient and consistent with our slothful, spendthrift ways-to dismiss Texas Republican Ron Paul’s matter-of-fact presentation to Congress as so much tilting at windmills.  But it’s a sad state of affairs when his call to replace imaginary credit with hard work and savings can be seen as a quixotic quest for a visionary ideal.  Do we really believe the cure for unthinkable debt and unrestrained spending is more debt and even more spending, or rather have we become so coddled and complacent that we’d prefer to put off a painful inevitable for a more painful inevitable just a bit down the line? 

Well, to paraphrase the President, albeit with less excitement, ‘Yes, We Do’, and ‘Yes, We Have’.

How else can you explain the passage of a $787 billion dollar stimulus bill?-Paul’s appeal for an overhaul to our reeling financial system no doubt lost in one of the many standing ovations for the Pied Piper of the Potomac; Obama’s soaring approval rating apparently trumping his opponents (seemingly) more rational economic rationale.

“We have to come to the realization . . . this is the end of an era,” Paul said.  “We can’t re-inflate the bubble.  We have to recognize it has failed.  Capital has to come from savings.  We have to work hard, produce, live within our means and what is left over is called capital.  This whole idea that we can recapitalize markets by merely turning on the printing presses and increasing credit is a total falacy.  We have to have a system that encourages people to work and save.  We’re telling consumers to spend and continue the old process.  It won’t work.”

But maybe it could work if not for the absence of one key ingredient: the work ethic and spirit that once fueled the American Dream.  Sadly though, it’s vanished faster than a certain non-renewable resource, so much so that arguments for short term, immediate pain will never be supported by a population suckled on credit and the inflated value of its questionable assets.  In fact, what was once the American Dream-Success Borne of Hard Work-is now literally that: a dream, a delusion, no more attainable than a rainbow’s gold . . . particularly for a workforce that’s lost the will to go find-let alone earn-it.

So what can Obama be thinking?  Does he truly believe in the stimulus package?  Or rather, that he can buy some time, rally the troops, renew our lost work ethic and re-prime the pumps?  Are we late in the game with our backs to the wall?  Can we beat all the odds and “win one for the Gipper?”  The new coach-er, President-claims that signing the stimulus package represents the “essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time.” Well Hazzah! if it works . . . but we’re screwed if it doesn’t.  Like a Hail Mary pass as the game clock ticks down. 

Both Ron Paul, financier-economist Peter Schiff and high-profile others believe the government’s plan is doomed to fail while the President’s supporters seem equally certain invested billions will pave the road to success.  Both, however, can’t be right.  Regardless, Obama took pen in hand and signed off on the most sweeping economic overhaul in decades.

Perhaps it was an effort to stimulate bipartisanship, or perhaps all the zeros gave rise to misgivings, but the President did say something on which everyone agreed.

“Today does mark the beginning of the end.”

Long, cryptic silence.

Like Schiff and Ron Paul, I’m not feeling so good.

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