Every day they announced some new and grander scheme to bring in the millennium, and every day they abandoned some busted one. Meanwhile, the plain people went on looking for jobs, and not finding them…. Its goat was the French taxpayer. He had to pay, in the end, for all the crazy building of gaudy railway stations, and all that frantic dredging of rivers and digging of canals. Starting out with the thesis that the Rotten Rich were scoundrels and ought to be squeezed, the Brain Trust proceeded easily to the thesis that any man who had any property whatsoever was a scoundrel, too, and ought to be squeezed equally. The rich, in the main, managed to escape, but the little fellow could not get away, and squeezed he surely was.
–H.L. Mencken, writing about France in 1848, with words that are applicable to America in 2011. (Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the reference.)