In the midst of some random thoughts this morning, Thomas Sowell wrote:
One of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery is that politicians and the media are both focused on how government can make the economy recover, rather than on how it can let the economy recover. One of the biggest deterrents to investments — and the jobs they could create — is uncertainty over what new bright ideas will come out of Washington to change the rules in midstream.
This couldn’t be more accurate. Who decided it was the government’s job to force the economy into recovery? It’s most certainly not. Economies recover on their own, and government has done its fair share to put the economy in this position, the last thing Americans need is the government trying to help them out of a recessionary trough.
For more evidence of unneeded government tinkering, look no further than today’s Wall Street Journal. The federal government is getting even more involved in how banks pay their managers. The government says giant U.S. banks “are considered critical to the U.S. economy,” and need government intervention in remuneration to keep them on the up and up. Where in the constitution is such behavior authorized? Mike Pence’s HR450 needs to be passed today in order to bring about some transparency in America’s constitutional process. And who judges these big banks to be “critical,” to the economy? Where does the classification end? Will farms and manufacturers soon be classified as critical to the economy too, and therefore subject to government control?
What is critical to the economy of the United States is that it is defended from attacks, specifically from Electro Magnetic Pulse attacks. More than the pay-scale at any bank, the economy is dependent upon electricity and the devices that use it. As I have written, there are few things more dangerous or disruptive than an EMP attack.
As the Obama administration continues to work on the New START treaty (it’s not over yet, the Senate hasn’t ratified it), it cannot think about missile defense in a myopic fashion. Russia isn’t the only country in the world with nuclear weapons, and even Iran could launch a “SCUD-in-a-bucket” attack that could employ EMP to knock out significant portions of the U.S. economy (Iran would first need to develop a nuke). Owen Graham and Michaela Bendikova have made some very valid points about New START here.
What these stories highlight is that the focus of the Obama administration seems to be on all the wrong things. Scoring cheap political points by hammering rich guys on Wall Street may play well at the ballot box, but ignoring national defense priorities, and implementing economically disruptive legislation must end. The federal government needs to focus on its constitutionally mandated priorities, and allow the economy to start fixing itself.