The official test results have come in and a diagnosis has finally been given. It’s taken longer than one would have preferred, but Americans now know what’s afflicting public policy. The U.S. government officially has a bad case of the ‘dumbs.’
The bad news is that this case appears to be both bipartisan and chronic. Regardless of which party is in power, poorly conceived policies are typically “remedied” with even more poorly conceived policies. These exacerbate our underlying condition of financial insolvency and create a debt spiral that will lead to economic chaos and diminished liberties for future generations of Americans.
The good news is that while potentially debilitating, this self-inflicted disease does have a cure: common sense.
All that is needed is simply the willingness of the patient to exercise it.
Case in point is the announcement by the White House yesterday that it would prepare nearly $12 billion in taxpayer-funded bailouts to farmers. These payments are intended to offset the negative impact of the Administration’s implementation of tariffs and an escalating trade war of its own creation.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Many congressional Republicans have had the appropriate reaction of outrage. Indeed, as the U.S. has implemented tariffs on goods from the EU, Canada, Mexico, and China, these countries have predictably retaliated with tariffs of their own.
The impact has already begun to hit U.S. farmers, who were responsible for $140.5 billion in exports in 2017. Exports represent around twenty percent of total farm income on average. And while the negative consequences of such a trade war will obviously be felt by the specific industries targeted, it’s consumers and American taxpayers who will be hit the hardest.
Aside from the all-but-inevitable increase in the cost of basic goods, Americans are simultaneously being fleeced out of billions of dollars we don’t have for a problem that was created by our own government.
Interestingly, this comes just as both the House and Senate passed a nearly $1 trillion food stamp and farm welfare bill that includes more than $20 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies to farmers on an annual basis. Now the Administration is preparing to utilize the Commodity Credit Corporation—a program that is a relic of the Great Depression—to funnel another $12 billion in direct handouts to farmers from the U.S. Treasury.
With our national debt approaching $22 trillion (not counting unfunded liabilities from Social Security and Medicare), the Administration has inflicted economic harm upon the U.S. agriculture industry and seeks to remedy that by inflicting additional harm upon U.S. taxpayers. All while our national debt balloons in a ticking time-bomb for millennials and future generations.
This is a classic symptom of the ‘dumbs’: cause one problem and then double down on another existing problem to “solve” the first problem in what becomes an infinite feedback loop of stupid.
And as members of Congress loudly denounce these policies, a dose of common sense would remind these elected officials that they have the ability to treat this condition. They can simply exercise their constitutional power to check the Executive branch.
One would think that the bipartisan outcry over the Administration’s tariff and bailout scheme could—or indeed would—result in legislation preventing the Administration from enacting such policies without affirmative congressional approval. Such action is a necessary dose of antibiotics to counter the spread of the increasingly debilitating ‘dumbs’ coursing through Washington D.C.
Yet, Congress is the very entity holding the cure for the disease. The fact that they haven’t used this remedy might suggest that they too have been crippled.
If that’s the case, then it’ll be up to the American people to forcibly inject the cure.
Of course, that’s assuming that the disease won’t have metastasized into something far more complicated with potentially lethal effects to our economy, our prosperity, and our future.