It boggles the mind that anyone who has read Ayn Rand would think that a federal bailout for spendthrift state governments is a good idea, much less dare to invoke her in arguing for such a bailout. Yet here we have the cognitive dissonance of Governor David Paterson’s testimony before Congress yesterday:
Paterson cited Rand, a libertarian icon, and her best-seller “The Fountainhead,” noting the novel proclaimed that “our country, the greatest country in the world, was founded on the basis of individuals, where people were encouraged to adventure, not to be complacent; to be daring, not dormant; to prosper, not to plunder.”
He went on to say that a failure to live by those principles, combined with a lack of transparency and governmental oversight, had “brought us to the point where our nation faces a downturn in its economy only rivaled by the Great Depression.”
A day earlier, the governor had outlined a dire and worsening financial forecast that included an unprecedented projected $47 billion budget deficit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Yesterday, he told committee members that while he was aware “that we have to put our own house in order,” federal assistance will still be necessary.
But… but… individuals… prosper, not plunder… federal assistance…
Am I the only one whose forehead is throbbing right now?
It gets better:
He called on Congress to consider a sharp hike in federal Medicaid payments to the states, along with increased unemployment-insurance benefits, infrastructure spending, and food-stamp benefits.
“We feel that food stamps are the best economy stimulus,” Paterson said.
He also said New York had “40 shovel-ready programs for improving highways and bridges,” but lacked funds to pay for them.
He’s like a modern Howard Roark. Except that he’s the complete opposite.