Francis Meyrick


Squandermania

Posted on January 20, 2009

SQUANDERMANIA

I had heard the term ‘squandermania’ used before in connection with exorbitant New Deal public spending.
It was therefore interesting to run across this quote in “The New Dealers’ War ” (Thomas Fleming).
(p.63)

“They also confronted a rising chorus of critics who began telling the nation the New Deal was a fraud and a failure. One of the most outspoken was FDR’s erstwhile admirer, Fulton Oursler. In ‘Liberty’ editorials, he began referring to the New Deal years as an era of “Squandermania “. Twenty two billion dollars had been wasted by “starry eyed idealists, crackpots and political heebie-jeebie boys, ‘who had tried to spend America into prosperity. “

What puzzles me is that today, January 2009, opinion polls declaim with great fanfare that varying very high percentages of the American population believe that Mr Obama will solve the nation’s economic woes. The optimism is palpable.
But… I just don’t get it. How? How is he going to do it?
I thought maybe it was just me, but I have noticed increasingly that critics of Mr Obama comment on the vague nature of his economic policies. One described it as ‘vacuous’. And where is the newness? Government spending is hardly a new policy. It has been tried over and over again. How many befuddled commentators have remarked that you cannot ‘buy prosperity’ or ‘spend your way out of recession’. And yet, somehow, legions of devoted, intensely emotional followers, whose faith borders it seems to me at times on the religious, are convinced that salvation is nigh. The Messiah is here…
Yes, but… what is he going to do? Over and over again, History seems to show us that government spending is wasteful, inefficient, and riddled with porkbarrel politics ( “jobs for the boys “). And that tax dollars often compete (unfairly) against bona fide private enterprise companies, either driving them out of business, or preventing a private enterpise (that could have dealt with the need) from getting off the ground in the first place…

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…
I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…. And an enormous debt to boot! “
(Philip Morgenthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939)

I often wonder is it just me? I, a simple pawn of the Great Ones, an unmentionable peon, a wart on an ant’s but, how could I possibly have any insight into great and historic events? What the hell do I know? And I do so try to be one of the unthinking masses. Blend in. Grateful for whatever handouts I might receive from Hillary and Barry…

I was -and am- therefore moved to emotion, as I read yesterday’s paper. Syndicated columnist Mona Charen writes under the heading of “Obama’s trillion-dollar plan for spending is a scary one “.
The good lady refers to the splendid visage of the “Anointed One “, emblazoned on coffee mugs, key chains, and even light up necklaces.
She then goes on to say:

“There’s always a degree of giddiness on the part of those who supported the president-elect, whoever he is, but today’s excitement borders on worship… “

Hey! I felt like shouting. That’s my line! I just hadn’t gotten around to putting it down in writing yet! And, yes, when is the Canonisation enquiry going to open? Oh, I’m sorry, Beatification comes first? Okay, when is it?
Too much hysteria already…
And further on in the article, I saw she had pinched more of my immortal, as yet unwritten lines.
Via the “conga line ” of bail out supplicants, and the “fast train to fiscal insolvency “, Mona steams along remorselessly to the “Stimulus ” bill.

“And if the Obama ‘stimulus’ bill passes, our federal deficit will top $1.7 trillion next year! As Hassert of the American Enterprise Institute has observed, “If government spending provided such a wonderful boost to the economy, we would be in Nirvana already “. Or, as a cartoonist rendered it, our economy is in a hole and the Obama solution is “shovel ready “.
The first rule of getting out of holes is to quit digging… “

I love you, Mona. And I forgive you for pinching my lines.

F.M.
(c)

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Last edited by Francis Meyrick on September 2, 2010, 11:05 am


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