Green Room

The Helpless Titan

posted at 12:56 am on June 18, 2010 by

The current federal government of the United States is the largest, best-funded organization in human history.  Our public debt has grown to over $13 trillion.  We pay hundreds of billions per year just to service this debt.  The federal government has over two million civilian employees.  The Postal Service, all by itself, employs more people than any American company except Wal-Mart.  Our government has shed almost every vestige of Constitutional restraint over the last few decades, exercising powers that would have shocked the Founding Fathers.

And yet, this federal titan is currently face-down in the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf of Mexico, its flabby arms twitching feebly.  It has become too bloated to stand up.  It can only lie there and scream threats at private citizens and corporations, until vast sums of money are shoveled into its maw, to sustain it for a few more years.

It’s not necessary to ignore the misdeeds of British Petroleum to criticize the appalling performance of our massive super-State.  Big Government and Big Business have become so entwined that any disaster on the scale of the Gulf oil spill, or the subprime mortgage crisis before it, will have both public and private agencies to blame.  Suggesting that government cannot be criticized until every one of its private-sector “partners” has been bankrupted or nationalized is a recipe for tyranny.  We should study the example of BP and understand that only one half of the government-business alliance can call press conferences at will, addressing a media prepared to extend them unlimited credit for their good intentions.

One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures.  The politicians who brought you the subprime crisis are richer and more powerful than ever before.  The Gulf oil crisis may well end the same way, if the Democrats use a lame-duck session of Congress, plus resources from their new minions at BP, to shove cap-and-trade legislation down America’s throat.  Like ObamaCare, such a bill can inflict serious wounds to American liberty during the two years it will take to replace a President determined to veto repeal attempts.

Indulging the urge of politicians to increase their power and wealth produces a government that spends all its time feeding, instead of doing the things it’s supposed to be doing.  It is blinded by hunger, and uninterested in duties that yield no direct political reward.  The lavishly funded agency in charge of regulating offshore drilling scarcely bothered to inspect the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.  It’s painfully obvious that the Administration didn’t notice the Gulf crisis until it became a political problem.  Our vast government apparatus was completely unaware of a large supply of containment boom until Jake Tapper, an ABC reporter, told them about it.

Even now, as oil begins fouling the coasts of our Gulf states, the federal government is entirely focused on shielding itself from blame, and taking advantage of the crisis to absorb more money.  Out on the high-octane open waters, they’re shutting down oil-skimming barges over trivial bureaucratic issues.  Bobby Jindal, the desperate governor of Louisiana, has taken to ignoring the comatose federal giant slumped across his coast, and getting things done on his own.  Unable to think rationally or compare costs to benefits, the government panicked and shut down offshore drilling… just as previous generations threw hysterical fits, and killed nuclear power and DDT.  We’re spending an awful lot of our children’s money on this government, and getting very little value in return.

No Presidential speech could obscure the fact that incalculable, perhaps irreversible damage has already been done, while union politics prompted the President to ignore valuable offers of assistance from foreign ships.  Innovative strategies for dealing with the oil gather cobwebs while the Administration focuses on the really important task of securing a $20 billion down payment on a massive new slush fund.  Of course Obama and the Democrats will steal much of this money, the same way they robbed the taxpayers for political cash and called it a “stimulus.”  The reptilian Bart Stupak has already floated the idea of raiding the BP fund for health care money.  I wonder if some of it would end up paying for abortions.

Over at Liberty Pundits, Melissa Clouthier watches in horror as Obama and BP dance a stiff, lightheaded tango of incompetence, and wonders:

Long term, do Americans want the President to have the right to confiscate or bully funds from a company that is clearly wrong-doing but the law has not meted out justice, yet? This seems like a dangerous precedent.

It’s especially dangerous because the government is likely to spend most of its time confiscating and bullying, rather than getting its hands dirty with the duties it should be fulfilling.  Incompetence is the opportunity cost of corruption.

Special note: I’m excited to announce that I’ve put the finishing touches on Doctor Zero: Year One, a collection of selected essays from my first year of writing for Hot Air.  It’s currently available through CreateSpace, and should be listed on Amazon.com within the next few days.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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Comments

Good thing you’re not a Republican Congress-critter with access to a wider audience and the ability to sit in on Congressional hearing, or you would be a dope of the highest magnitude for making these obvious points out loud.

Nice post, I’ll certainly be Customer Zero (or One) for your collected writings. Something to pass on to my kids, you know?

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 18, 2010 at 2:21 AM

One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures.

spot on Dr Z!

cmsinaz on June 18, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Who’s Marge?

I tried to purchase but Cretespace timed out. Just thought you’d like to know.

And considering that we’ve got two more years of BarryO LLP I would expect you’ll have volumes 2 & 3 available by 2013. Keep us posted.

Robert17 on June 18, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Special note: I’m excited to announce that I’ve put the finishing touches on Doctor Zero: Year One, a collection of selected essays from my first year of writing for Hot Air. It’s currently available through CreateSpace, and should be listed on Amazon.com within the next few days.

Everyone here needs to buy several copies and distribute to the naive fools in their lives.

Disturb the Universe on June 18, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Special note: I’m excited to announce that I’ve put the finishing touches on Doctor Zero: Year One, a collection of selected essays from my first year of writing for Hot Air. It’s currently available through CreateSpace, and should be listed on Amazon.com within the next few days.

Very glad to hear this, everyone needs to be reading your work.

beachgirlusa on June 18, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Great news on the book Doc, I’ll definitely be buying one for my father for sure, I know he would like your writing but he isn’t very internet saavy.

Also, great essay above.

Heralder on June 18, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Who’s Marge?

I tried to purchase but Cretespace timed out. Just thought you’d like to know.

And considering that we’ve got two more years of BarryO LLP I would expect you’ll have volumes 2 & 3 available by 2013. Keep us posted.

Robert17 on June 18, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Marge is my irrepressible, artistic girlfriend. She took charge of creating my book cover. She had some amusing ideas for the back-cover text, too, but her marketing degree kicked in and prevented her from using them.

I checked with CreateSpace and they said everything should be back in working order now. I should be popping up on Amazon early next week, as well.

Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement and support. I have an original book project under construction, and I’m hopeful that “Doctor Zero: Year One” will do well enough to get the big publishers interested. I’ll never be able to thank Michelle, Ed, Allah, and all the readers of Hot Air enough for making that seem possible!

Doctor Zero on June 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

He Knows, He Just Doesn’t Care

The most damning thing about Obama’s response to the Gulf Crisis is not what it reveals about his lack of competence, but what it reveals about his lack of interest. And it has forced many liberals to recognize, what so many conservatives knew all along. That Obama just doesn’t care.

Politicians who don’t care what happens to the little people are nothing new. But Bill Clinton was a master at pretending to care. His performance in that infamous funeral clip testifies to a man who could turn on the facade of emotions in the blink of an eye. Obama isn’t very good at that. Where Clinton was a natural actor, Obama is an unnatural one. Unlike most politicians, he lacks that instinct, because he lacks any degree of empathy. And so Obama needs extensive prep time to get his show on the road. Without prep time and a teleprompter, the mask begins to slip and the man underneath is cold and distant delivering a mechanical performance.

Look at Obama and you see the mirror of liberal expectations. No sooner does Bill Maher deliver his black man line then Obama begins talking about kicking ass. As always Obama tries to manipulate people by becoming what they want him to be. But underneath it, the fate of Americans means nothing to him.

Tav on June 18, 2010 at 4:59 PM

One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures.

How the Road to Socialism is Paved

One of the more insidious aspects of the government takeover is how such takeovers are pitched as reforms. Of course reform traditionally applies to institutions reforming themselves or being reformed by their constituents or shareholders. The idea of government reforming the private sector smacks of unlimited authority, which is exactly what it is. And so a government that cannot reform itself, that cannot stop its out of control spending, its constant legislative corruption, its culture of pork and kickbacks, its compulsive need to appropriate power, sets out to instead take over every aspect of life within the country in the name of reform.

Tav on June 18, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Doc,
Looking forward to reading your “collection”…..you’ve been one of my absolute favorite reads.

BTW….have you sent a copy to Sarah Palin yet?????

tencole on June 18, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Well, the US Minerals Management service is going to be looking to someone for the royalties lost since they were forced to shut down drilling… This is a very sick game he is playing.

ericdijon on June 18, 2010 at 9:25 PM

It’s currently available through CreateSpace, and should be listed on Amazon.com within the next few days.

Wonderful!! And just in time for father’s day! Thanks, Doc.

Weight of Glory on June 18, 2010 at 9:52 PM

You know what? What we need is performance based job retention in congress. A constitutional amendment that states any congress critter part of a congress that runs a deficit in any given year is booted from congress when their term is up and they can never run again.

Seriously. The real issue here is that no one is responsible for anything. Job security has nothing to do with actual performance. Make them turn a profit and give them quarterly evaluations. Who’s with me?

NotCoach on June 18, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Boot on the neck of BP – Ken Salazar
Someone a$$ I can kick – Obama

A better answer, what can we do to help you stop the leak and clean the mess. Then we’ll sort out the blame.

Kini on June 18, 2010 at 10:35 PM

If he can ripoff $20B from BP, he can ripoff any amount from anybody. Investing in financials or businesses under these conditions is an absolute sucker play. I won’t do it. I suspect I’m not alone.

Bugler on June 18, 2010 at 10:42 PM

Y’know I’ve never been much of a believer in term limits until the last few years. I think I’m finally beginning to get it!
In life there are certain experiences that tend to isolate and separate us from all of our neighbors around us. Combat is the most widely known, but there are quite a few others that come to mind. Like the sudden suicide of a life long friend or partner, winning a $100 million lottery or being the victim of a violent crime in one’s home. Some trauma of such cataclysmic impact that communicating one’s feelings becomes impossible and we just don’t talk about it any more and we spend the rest of our lives at a distance from everyone else around us.
It occurs to me that one could also add to that list, the experience of winning a popular election to a powerful and distant office that removes you into a completely foreign life. The sense of incommunicable separateness that comes to permeate your every experience must eventually be decisive in redefining you to yourself and after a while, the people whom you knew before become “them” or “they” instead of “us”.
Its right then, that the “Elected One” must be term limited out. At that exact moment it becomes impossible for that person to represent “us” and our values and our outlooks.
Yes, it’s been a long hard road but I think I’m beginning to get it!

Lew on June 18, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Special note:

Awesome, I’ve been waiting, and of course just bought one from CreateSpace.

I have an original book project under construction…

Can’t wait, your articles have been an excellent tool ( for example The Parable of the Bread Aisle) to paraphrase to the guys at work to try and put ‘em some knowledge. You are an excellent resource and I always love seeing one of your posts up at HA. Keep it up!

T.Paine on June 18, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Doctor Z, we will smile when it hits the NYT best sellers list, un-reviewed of course.

I am not a racist on June 18, 2010 at 11:00 PM

I have never seen a president set so many out of control political and cultural fires in my lifetime. It seems that every week there is another, and the nation is choking on the smoke. Can Republicans pour enough water on this childish fire-starter before he’s burnt the place to the ground?

He makes the Nixon era seem tame. At least it was ‘only’ Watergate.

leftnomore on June 19, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Leftnomore, that was eloquent.

flataffect on June 19, 2010 at 1:42 AM

I kind of feel sorry for the prez. He never does any actual work and therefore all the parties and golf outings have the impact as on a spoiled child.

AltTuning on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 AM

Unable to think rationally or compare costs to benefits, the government panicked and shut down offshore drilling…

This feels too convenient. Obama has openly stated he wanted gas prices to go up in the past. I think something terrible and likely criminal has occurred behind the scenes.

Since gas prices affect the price of everything else, and this will certainly cause gas prices to rise, this needs to be hung around Obama’s neck as a tax on the poor.

scotash on June 19, 2010 at 2:45 AM

Excellent article. Wish I hadn’t read it. What was a bright sunshiny day now feels bleak and hopeless.

scalleywag on June 19, 2010 at 9:36 AM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on June 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM