Ayn Rand's dystopia is here right now and 'Atlas' is shrugging
If coronavirus keeps economy closed through summer, we’ll have Great Depression: Steve Moore
Former Trump senior economic adviser Steve Moore on how the U.S. can balance safety during coronavirus and reopen the U.S. economy.
Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Continue Reading Below
Ayn Rand once said, "Government help to business is just as disastrous as government persecution. … The only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off."
Congress has just approved an economically bloated $2.2 trillion spending relief bill, an amount more substantial than the GDP of all but a handful of countries. It is only the third massive relief bill, and we've been told several trillion dollars more would have to get spent. Then there are the trillions of dollars more of Federal Reserve Board liquidity injections. We are starting to talk about real money here.
STOCK MARKET'S CORONAVIRUS BOTTOM PROBABLY IN: GOLDMAN SACHS
The politicians believe that sending $1,200 checks to people will "stimulate" the economy. Among the many mistaken provisions of this new law is a welfare benefit to workers that pays them more money if they quit and become unemployed than if they stay on the job.
Here we go again. A decade ago, during the height of the folly of the bank bailouts and trillions of dollars of spending for "shovel-ready projects" (that didn't create jobs but plunged our nation into greater indebtedness), I noted in a Wall Street Journal article that with each successive bailout and multibillion-dollar economic stimulus scheme from Washington, the politicians were reenacting the very acts of economic stupidity that Ayn Rand parodied in her 1,000-page-plus 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged." In many surveys, "Atlas" rates as the second most influential book of all time behind the Bible.
For those of you who have not read it (first, shame on you!), the moral of the story is that politicians invariably respond to crises — that, in most cases, they created — by spewing out new, mindless government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to spawn even more programs. At which point, the downward spiral repeats itself until there is a thorough societal collapse.
Isn't this precisely what is happening now?
FORD CORONAVIRUS LOSSES EXPECTED TO REACH $600M IN FIRST QUARTER
In the book, the well-meaning politicians pass bills such as the "Anti-Greed Act" to prevent companies and wealthy people from making too much money. Another of my favorites was the "Equalization of Opportunity Act," which required successful people who invented things and started new businesses to share their wealth.