One million dollars a second.

As we saw in our last episode, your friend, Big Brother, for a mixture of reasons (some well-intentioned but woefully ignorant, some ill-intentioned yet woefully ignorant) stumbled into a depression for basically the same reasons Hoover stumbled into the last depression. But to make the depression into a truly Great Depression, lasting decades, we needed a truly economically illiterate semisocialist leader, Franklin Roosevelt, trampler of the Constitution.

History repeats itself: Bush trampled the Constitution in his haste to destroy the free market by saving it ( or save the free market by destroying it, I forget which) and now Pres Obama, whom history will remember as the First Ever Utterly Unqualified President, rushes to fill FDR’s shoes, by doing what FDR did, but more of it, and more expensively, and without FDR’s executive experience.

Two tidbits from NRO. This comment from John Pitney, Jr.

"Here’s another way of calculating the haste with which Congress enacted the $789 billion stimulus bill.  Representative David Obey introduced it on January 26. Final passage took place on February 13.  Minus Sundays, that period was all of 17 days.   Including floor sessions, committee proceedings, and backroom dealing, let’s generously assume that Congress was working on the bill 12 hours a day.  Do the math, and you find that Congress was deliberating on the bill at a rate of just over … one million dollars a second."

This is from Iain Murry

"Wasteful and Non-Stimulative Spending in the House-Senate Conference Report (Note: Many of these items are typically debated and funded through the regular budget process. Including these items in an emergency “stimulus” spending bill plays an Enron-style shell game with taxpayer dollars. We’re borrowing from the next generation to avoid tough budget choices today.)
• $8 billion for high-speed railway (including an earmark for an Los Angeles to Las Vegas MagLev)
• $1 billion for the “FutureGen” not-ready-for-primetime near zero emission plant in Illinois
• $53.6 billion for the “state stabilization” slush fund
• $1.3 billion for Amtrak
• $24 million for USDA buildings and rent
• $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
• $290 million for flood prevention activities
• $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
• $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
• $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
• $650 million for the DTV converter box coupon program
• $360 million for construction of NIST buildings
• $830 million for NOAA research and facilities
• $2 billion for Byrne JAG program
• $10 million to combat Mexican gunrunners
• $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
• $1 billion for the COPS program
• $1 billion for NASA
• $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
• $400 million for equipment and facilities at the NSF
• $3.7 billion to conduct "green" renovations on military bases
• $375 million for Mississippi River projects
• $10 million for urban canals
• $5 billion for weatherizing buildings
• $2 billion to develop advanced batteries for hybrid cars
• $3.4 billion for fossil energy research (possibly including an earmark for FutureGen)
• $5.1 billion for environmental cleanup around military bases
• $5.5 billion for "green" federal buildings
• $300 million for "green" cars for federal employees
• $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration
• $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters
• $210 million for State and local fire stations
• $125 million to restore trails and abandoned mines
• $146 million for trail maintenance at National Park Service sites
• $140 million for volcano monitoring systems
• $600 million for the EPA Superfund environmental cleanup program
• $200 million to clean up leaking underground storage tanks
• $500 million for forest health and wildfire prevention
• $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution
• $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities" (for "youth" up to 24 years old)
• $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
• $1 billion for Head Start
• $32 million for home-delivered nutrition services
• $160 million for volunteer programs at the Corporation for National and Community Service
• $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in MD
• $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico"

Meanwhile, on my radio, I hear the economists on NPR. They are giddy over the amounts of money being spent, and both agree that IT IS NOT ENOUGH and the CONGRESS WILL NEED TO SPEND MORE.

I am reminded of the Athenians deciding to attack Syracuse, except that the Athenian hubris over their military might, in this case, is American hubris for our ability to ignore economic reality. We are not merely spending money we don’t have, we are spending whole moonshots and world wars worth of money we don’t have.

What happens wen the bill comes due?

My own life contained a painful lesson back when I was young and starving. I borrowed money from my father in law to pay my rent. Once I was in debt to him, I was no longer able to order him off my property when he grew rude and overbearing. I was no longer a man, no longer his equal,and the apartment was no longer my castle, because I had sold my honor to him for money. Once you are in debt, your creditor pays the piper, and you dance to his tune.