Creeping – no, Galloping Fascism

Every picture tells a story…and it ain’t that pretty at all:

Il Duce, Redux?

Trying to handle the crisis, the Fascist government nationalized the holdings of large banks which had accrued significant industrial securities. The government also issued new securities to provide a source of credit for the banks and began enlisting the help of various cartels…. The government offered recognition and support to these organizations in exchange for promises that they would manipulate prices in accordance with government priorities. A number of mixed entities were formed… whose purpose it was to bring together representatives of the government and of the major businesses.… This economic model based on a partnership between government and business was soon extended to the political sphere, in what came to be known as corporatism.… The Fascists began to impose significant tariffs and other trade barriers.… Various banking and industrial companies were financially supported by the state.… [The national leader] created the [New Governmental Entity]….[which soon] controlled 20% of [the nation's] industry through government-linked companies.… [The national leader] also adopted a Keynesian policy of government spending on public works to stimulate the economy.… Public works spending tripled to overtake defense spending as the largest item of government expenditure.

As much as that description sounds like U.S. government policy begun under George W. Bush and now greatly expanding under Barack Obama, the above passage of course describes the economics of fascist Italy in the 1930s, as summed up by Wikipedia. (A quick Google search produces plenty of similar summaries of “economic fascism.”) Furthermore, “The Fascist conception of life,” Mussolini wrote, “stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [which] denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual.”

Entered as a case in point about the direction B.O. is taking us:

U.S. Plans Key Role In Naming GM Board

The Obama administration will play a key role in reshaping General Motors’ board of directors over the next six months, potentially giving it even greater control in the management of the storied American manufacturer.

The president’s auto task force plans to consult with the company as it replaces a majority of its board, a White House official said. The board today largely consists of the current and former chiefs of major U.S. corporations such as Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, Pfizer and Eastman Kodak. It is not known which of the 12 board members will leave.

The president said Monday that “the United States government has no interest in running GM.” But in practice it is already exerting tremendous influence over it, a situation that has triggered fierce debate over how much power the government should wield over the companies that it aids.

Is there a connection between the involvement of the Chrysler rescue with a deal with the Italian Fiat? That’s a rich potential source of grist for the mills of the blogosphere. Surely there couldn’t REALLY be anything but coincidence here…could there?