Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and a former participant in the AmericaCorps VISTA program, has a plan to restore America. It’s set forth in an article today published by the New York Times. Drawing on President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression, he wants the federal government to implement a big hiring program. His plan is modeled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which was established in 1933 and which hired young men to plant billions of trees, build hundreds of parks and wildlife refuges, and complete miles of trails and roads.
How much does O’Mara project this public works will cost? He doesn’t say. In fact, he gives that question extremely short shrift, as though it doesn’t really matter. He writes: “How much would all this cost? That depends on the scope of our ambitions. But clearly, there is plenty of work to be done and too many young people without jobs or prospects who are available to do it.”
Nonetheless, regardless of the “scope of our ambitions,” unless the federal government conscripts and enslaves the workers, it still has to get the money to pay them and to buy the tools and equipment they will be using.
How is the federal government supposed to do that? After all, the federal government is broke. It owes people more than $25 trillion dollars. It is still spending more than it is bringing in with taxes, to the turn of more than $1 trillion per year.
In fact, the federal government is nothing more than a financial deadbeat. It’s deeply in debt and spending more than its revenues. It has no savings whatsoever. There is no money under its bed.
So, the natural question arises: Where would it get the money to fund O’Mara’s public-works project?
That’s what leftists never think about. All that goes through their minds is that the federal government is big and rich. It can do anything.
Let’s say that O’Mara’s program will cost $1 billion. There is only one way that the feds can get that money — through taxation.
Is O’Mara saying that Congress should collect that $1 billion in increased income taxes on people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis? If so, how are they supposed to come up with the money to pay those taxes, given that they are unemployed and just struggling to survive?
Or is he saying that they should be imposed on the rich, which is what lefties always want to do for the sake of “equality”? How about taxing such big rich corporations like Neiman Marcus or J.C. Penny, both of which are now in bankruptcy proceedings?
Or maybe the feds should just plan to borrow the money and add another $1 billion to the government’s $28 trillion debt load. But Americans taxpayers are responsible for repayment of that debt. Today, each taxpayer owes $203,000 as his part of the federal government’s debt. That’s a $406,000 tax liability for each married couple.
Of course, O’Mara could simply have the Federal Reserve print up the money and use it to pay those workers and buy their tools and equipment. But that inflation of the money supply would reduce the value of everyone’s money, just as it has for decades. It would amount to an inflation tax, no different from a direct tax except that it would be surreptitious.
What lefties don’t realize is that FDR’s New Deal was a socialist and fascist disaster.
First of all, it was monetary manipulation by the Federal Reserve, which was brought into existence in 1913, that caused the 1929 stock-market crash that led to the Great Depression. Rather than end the Fed at that point, which is what Americans should have done, FDR used the economic crisis to transform America from a free-market, private-property economy to a welfare-state and a managed economy.
Among the things he did was destroy the finest monetary system in history — the gold-coin, silver-coin standard set forth in the Constitution. He did it without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment. That opened up the floodgates to monetary debasement that financed the gigantic welfare state and warfare state into which he was converting America.
The crown jewel of his welfare-state system was Social Security, a socialist program whose concept had originated among socialists in Germany and then imported into the United States. It launched the mindset that the federal government was responsible for taking care of people by having the IRS take money from one group of people through taxation and give it to other people, all under the guise of being “compassionate.”
FDR’s model fascist economic program was the National Industrial Recovery Act, which would have fit perfectly in Benito Mussolini’s fascist program in Italy. It put American businesses into cartels, which had the power to set their own prices and wages, in contrast to a free market.
Unfortunately, we are still living with the moral and economic consequences of FDR’s New Deal. Americans would be wise to reject Collin O’Mara’s socialist plan and instead restore America’s heritage of economic liberty, free markets, private property, and sound money.