Why Is Michael Chertoff Still Employed?
Gene Healy Weeps for Calvin Coolidge

The Era of Limited Government Is Over...

Max Sawicky thinks that he lives in a weird world. He's right:

MaxSpeak, You Listen!: THE ERA OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT IS OVER: [Bush's] speech was so Democratic, in fact, that the conservative bits were discordant. The bit about entrepreneurs, for instance. What kind of entrepreneurship depends on tax subsidies? With subsidies, I could be an entrepreneur. A subsidy to entrepreneurship means the government finances a business that can't turn a market rate of profit. It's paying someone to lose money. Hey, I could do that. Mr. President, over here!

If the city is cleaned up, its infrastructure restored, and flood protection established, there should be no need for subsidies to make business development flourish. On the other hand, individuals will need compensation to get on their feet again, including access to credit for business start-ups. Such access would not be a subsidy if it plugged preexisting holes in the market -- the sort of red-lining that prevents solvent, lower-income people, especially minorities, from getting the loans they need and can repay to buy housing and start businesses.

The homesteading thing is interesting, harkening to old populist notions. I take Steve Kyle's point in the comments to the previous post of the danger that such support would be steered to the finance of gentrified neighborhoods that are inhospitable to the former inhabitants. Like the vast bulk of the money set aside, it is really a black box. How it gets done and how worthwhile remain to be determined....

However messy the use of money becomes in the hands of the Bushists, I maintain that this is a watershed moment for the limited-government movement. What we have in this Administration is an unwholesome mixture -- the term toxic soup comes to mind -- of Christian fundy prejudice (towards non-Christians, science, and the Enlightenment), Wilsonian jingoism, and blind anti-tax sentiment. Big, stupid government is all over your bedroom and your public schools, driving your kids further into debt, rattling an insubstantial sabre at a legion of emboldened international miscreants. These people will be the death of us all.

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