The Great Deception

Stimulus Checks from Heaven

Charles Ponzi, Bernie Madoff and Enron may be known for perpetrating infamous frauds but these scams pale in comparison to The Great Deception. This fraud, hatched by our government over decades, has hit over-drive with the corona virus stimulus money now raining down upon America. This “free money” seems too good to be true – spoiler alert: it is.

Key to the Great Deception is a great disconnect. Our politicians act as though they are bestowing a gift upon the people making them believe there is some Federal warehouse packed with extra money that noble and heroic politicians must free up from heartless political adversaries and evil billionaires. Everyone is quick to take this free money but few give thought to where it comes from. Politicians have somehow created this disconnect between government spending and the source of the funds. They don’t want us to know that the government creates nothing. 

To mitigate the harm from the corona virus, the economy has been placed in a government-induced coma. The underlying crime is that, after the longest period of economic growth in US history, our politicians did not get the financial house in order. Instead, more borrowing and more spending took place and our Federal government debt now eclipses $23 trillion. Rather than being prepared to handle a pandemic or other disaster, fiscal irresponsibility has left our nation unprepared.

Leftist politicians have pounced on this pandemic using it as a Trojan horse to push their socialist agenda. The New York governor had driven out businesses and jobs with high taxes and oppressive regulations while expanding lucrative but unfunded public employee pensions. His misguidance has brought the Empire State to the brink of insolvency. Thanks to COVID-19 and voters’ short memories, Andrew Cuomo has conveniently rebranded himself as a benevolent leader. His daily Hugo Chavez-like pontifications simultaneously cast blame away from himself as he grovels for more Federal stimulus money. Cuomo has upped the deception by saying New York’s fiscal mess was caused by the mysterious virus and the mass media propagandists pump out his false narrative. A virus caused this failing governor to become a presidential hopeful.

In my native California, the Great Deception is deemed so ironclad by socialist politicians that audacious expansion of government control is being sold as “necessary”. With high taxes, an unfunded public pension disaster and an $80 billion dollar bullet train debacle, why not provide free healthcare to illegal aliens? Now the pandemic unfolds so why not send state stimulus checks to illegal aliens? Hotels are being forced to house homeless people under threat of public shaming and outright government takeover. Taxpayer money is not only funding the hotel rooms but, in some places, also providing drugs, alcohol and cigarettes for the homeless. It sounds like a storyline for a Coen Brothers movie but it’s just another day in the Golden State.

As the stimulus dollars rain down from the sky, our politicians don’t want us to notice how the money seems to disproportionately land on their campaign patrons and cronies. Millions have been sent to Harvard University, the oldest and richest endowment in America. Millions went to the Kennedy Center. Who knows what other bastions of the poor and downtrodden are magnets for the free money? The US Postal Service, long an incinerator for taxpayer money, is now targeted for a financial bailout in the next stimulus round as many truly needy Americans miss out.

Government endeavors are plagued by incompetence and corruption during normal times so we know performance will be even more dismal under duress as was the reaction to the Great Recession. This time, Chapter 1 already contains the CDC’s botching of the virus test kits while countries such as Taiwan and South Korea sourced their virus test kits from private companies and, thus, satisfactorily controlled the epidemic. At the same time, our FDA forbid the use of viable privately developed test kits. Our CDC had been off chasing an epidemic called vaping and studying a disease they call “gun ownership”. Left unable to contain the virus in the early stage, shutting down the economy became the government’s reaction.

Removing the disconnect reveals only four sources for the free money. Taxes could be raised but that would awaken voters and the jig would be up. Another choice is to just print money but that would lead to hyper-inflation and the rapid economic decline as experienced by every nation that ever tried it, the most recent examples being Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Finally, the US could renege on its debt but this would not only collapse the US economy but that of the world as well. Politicians know the safest route that keeps the Great Deception rolling is to borrow more. This course amounts to a slow fuse that detonates after the politicians have left office for luxurious retirements or the next life. Thus, all therapies for alleviating the debt crisis are bitter medicine for the American people.

In the end, the national debt problem will prove to be more severe and long-lasting than this pandemic. Massive debt will stifle economic growth causing an outright decline in American prosperity. Our political leaders are causing widespread pain and suffering so who needs a contagion? Some Americans may want to see that mythical Federal money warehouse but, if they could see it, they would only find it full of IOU’s. Better they head to a homeless party at a California hotel. After all, there’s free stuff.

Steve L. is a former member of the Libertarian Party of Broward County Executive Committee.