The Corner

Gerson on the Stimulus

There are only a few constants in this world. Three in particular come to mind. Every day, my wife will nag me about smoking. Every night, my son will put a smile on my face when I come through the door. And twice a week, Michael Gerson will write a thoroughly annoying column for the Washington Post.

Every once in a while, you’d think that Gerson would, by sheer chance, write someting I could sort of agree with. But no. Like clockwork, he grates. Today’s column about the stimulus bill signals that, once again, the relentless march of universal law remains unmolested by the randomness of life.

Gerson’s argument is that the stimulus bill was by-and-large awful but, alas, necessary.  He offers two reasons. 

First, he argues that there is nothing else on the horizon to jump-start the economy.  The Japanese experiment with an even larger and more robust stimulus, however, suggests that the economic defibrillators Gerson wants to apply to the economy may well kill the patient rather than bring him to health. No matter; Gerson’s faith in the power of government is an ideological constant.

Second, he points out that the bill gives more money to the poor. Yup, that’s why God put conservatives like Gerson on this earth — to argue for even more welfare and income transfers at the point of a gun. It never occurs to Gerson that one can be compassionate toward the poor but simultaneously skeptical about the case for forcing people to share that compassion via government force. No — anyone who dares offer a defense for letting people make their own decisions about how much charity to give and who to give it to is an enemy of mankind and, more importantly for Gerson, a deadly virus within the Republican party.

George Bush has a lot to answer for as president. Putting Michael Gerson on a track to the Post’s editorial page is one of those things I shall never be able to forgive.    

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