Rick Wagner Column January 29, 2009

Economic plans could turn United States into a banana republic

If you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a banana republic, it looks like you are going to have your chance to be ruled over by honest-to-gosh tin-pot government officials who spend your money like it is, well, your money. They’ll just print more when that runs out.

I suppose we should’ve seen this coming when they started issuing new coins made out of zinc and gum wrappers and colorful paper money with giant pictures and numbers. All we need now is to slap a pineapple watermark on it and we will have the kind of money you need a mason jar full of to buy a T-shirt.

This new governmental system does present the opportunity for artists to paint those huge portraits of the new leader so fresh-faced schoolchildren can sing to it at the beginning of each day. We also have work for sign makers to change all street names and schools to reflect the name of our new president and other helpers in the seizure of the means of production.

A number of commentators are worried about this system being socialism, like something out of Eastern Europe or the old Soviet Union, but it’s just not that organized. Its guiding ideological principles are a mixture of bizarre and sometimes inconsistent interest groups that haven’t solidified into much more than a teetering and fragile coalition.

I say a banana republic not because we produce a lot of bananas or passion fruit, but because one of the characteristics of a banana republic is economic crisis (often a change in the price of bananas),  exploited by revolutionaries living in the hills who are aided and abetted by liberal academics and reporters who, after the revolution, are jailed.

Their bumbling, incoherent attempts to fix the economic crisis usually result in their substitution by yet another group from a different hill coming into town and jailing the old revolutionaries and whatever journalists and academics who supported the old revolutionaries.

This is what happened in Cuba, except that the more-organized Soviet Union found it expedient to prop up the economy so that this revolution would survive. The introduction of a great deal of Soviet money for overpriced sugar, an influx of Soviet weaponry and secret police training shows us how a banana republic can transition into a  really miserable place to live. Fidel’s friend, Che Guevara, thought this was too boring and decided he would go to

Bolivia and try and come down out of the hills there. Unfortunately for him, the Bolivian army caught and killed him.

We’ve had our own election and it looks like were going to be reaping the benefit of bringing the revolutionaries from the hills into the capital ourselves. Our economic situation has, and continues to be, exploited for the benefit of revolutionary ideas the majority of which are probably doomed to, at best, laughable failures or, at worst, a government-dominated, over-taxed and over-regulated disaster. With a  bunch of inflation thrown in for good measure.

Historical economics teaches us that only two things have brought nations like our own out of economic dilemmas: tax cuts or war. 

Presently our leaders seem to be choosing the “New Deal” approach, which required World War II to lever us from its clutches.

This modern fascination with Franklin Roosevelt ignores the financial bungler he was for the majority of his life. 

As readers may know, Roosevelt was a strong believer that the zeppelin would overtake the aircraft in terms of commercial flight and would be a real money maker for its investors. He is even quoted as saying, “Wait until my dirigibles are running, and then you will be able to take a form of transportation which is absolutely safe.”  The Hindenburg seemed to finally put a capper on that business venture but it demonstrates the unique business sense that managed to keep the Great Depression churning along during his presidency.

Let’s hope it takes less for us to wake up.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.


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