The Party's Over
By Patrick J. Buchanan
-- - The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of
dollars of our people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929,
likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.
The new era will see a more sober
and much diminished America. The "Omnipower" and "Indispensable
Nation" we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio
following our Cold
War victory is history.
Seizing on the crisis, the left
says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a
failure of conservatism.
This is nonsense. What we are
witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ("Greed Is Good!")
capitalism. What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal
nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the
philosophy and principles that made it great.
A true conservative cherishes
prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility,
and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for
retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not
buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your
Is that really what got
and us into this mess — that we followed too religiously the
gospel of Robert
"Government must save us!" cries
the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the
government — the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his
profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall
Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?
For years, we Americans have
spent more than we earned. We save nothing.
Credit card debt,
auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt — all are at record
levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of
that debt will never be repaid.
Our standard of living is
inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy
our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they
will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.
We are going to have to learn to
live again without our means.
The party's over
World War II,
we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain
economically independent of the world in order to remain
But this generation decided that
was yesterday's bromide and we must march bravely forward into a
Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American
companies morphed into "global companies" and moved plants and
Mexico, Asia, China and
we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at
home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes,
began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast
borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.
At home, propelled by tax cuts,
war in Iraq
and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and
deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink,
and gold began to soar.
Yet, still, the promises of the
Barack Obama will give us
insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the
nation that already carries 50 percent of the
is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move
Georgia and Ukraine, confront
to stop enriching uranium or "bomb, bomb, bomb," with
as wartime consigliere.
Who are we kidding?
What we are witnessing today is
how empires end.
The Last Superpower is unable to
defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars or
balance its budget. Medicare and
are headed for the cliff with
liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.
What we are witnessing today is
nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our
political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over
the viability and longevity of the system.
Notice who is managing the
crisis. Not our elected leaders.
says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and
President Bush is nowhere to be seen.
Hank Paulson of
and Ben Bernanke
of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go
under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost
to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S.
government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy
AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink
beneath the waves.
An unelected financial elite is
now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a
disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the
nation. We are just spectators.
Generation handed down to us — the richest, most
powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the
highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved — the
baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have
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