Our government is on the wrong track in its efforts to stabilize the economy. It has chosen the wrong mechanism to fix it, and the repercussions from the measures it proposes as solutions are downright dangerous.
Until very recently President Barack Obama was unnecessarily negative about the economy, as he attempted to lower expectations for his performance as President. His constant negativity raised the anxiety of Americans at a time they needed reassurance and leadership from their President, and adversely influenced their economic behavior, worsening the problem.
Spending in the private economy is the way to improve things, and the federal government needs to shore up the banking industry and make it possible for people to spend their own money on the things they need and want. The way to enable people to spend their own money is to make sure they have as much of it as possible to spend by suspending income and payroll taxes for a time.
Two of the principals upon which our nation was founded are individual freedom and limited government, and applying them to the current situation means that people, not the government, are the mechanism to turn the economy around. As Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
But the government that the Founders so wisely created and which has served us so well for so long is being dramatically changed right before our eyes from a government of, by and for the people, to a government increasingly controlled by elected officials who seem unconcerned with government’s proper role, and who actively work to increase its authority over the people from whom its power is derived.
This is not a new development; we have been moving in that direction for decades, as Congresses and Presidents added to the growing list of authority our government exercises, but to which it is not constitutionally entitled. It is difficult to look at the events of the last few months and not be astounded at how our government is attempting to usurp control from, or increase its control over, its citizens in so many areas.
What we see today is our elected leaders in the White House and the Congress moving rapidly and decisively to increase government’s involvement in the day-to-day functioning of our society, more aggressively than at any time in the nation’s history. Although the Obama presidency is in its infancy, there have already been several such steps taken and there are plans for more government intervention in education, healthcare and the relationship between employers and workers.
For example, the Card Check mechanism that favors labor unions over employers is supported by both the Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration, and would take away the secret ballot method of voting for or against union representation.
And, among the education initiatives are one to make college affordable to all Americans through a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth $4,000 in exchange for community service, and an early childhood education plan that will provide support for children and their parents.
These things have repercussions that must be recognized and understood, but the most ominous and most important aspect is the degree to which they will erode the ability of individual citizens to act in their own best interest, and to determine their own course in life, which is the very foundation of the American ideal.
Some say the administration is simply trying to do too much too soon, as it takes full advantage of the economic crisis to push through its leftist programs. But the reality is that there is never a time when these proposals will be acceptable. I challenge readers to find for me that part of the Constitution of the United States that empowers either the Congress or the President to control education or to affect the relationship between employers and workers.
Some may point to the “general welfare clause” in Section I, Article 8, but that argument falls far short of the mark. Using the general welfare clause to try to justify these initiatives requires an interpretation so broad that no serious person would assert that such an interpretation was what the brilliant men who wrote our Constitution had in mind. But that is not to suggest that such absurdly broad interpretations and twisted rationalizations of language have not occurred previously. However, honest people do not attempt to justify one mistake by citing another.
More to the point, the general welfare of all the people of the United States is not advanced through the special treatment of labor unions, young children or those of college age. The general welfare is advanced, however, from a strong defense of our country and its borders, and a government that does not control the lives of its citizens.
If we are not very careful we will allow the Congress and the administration to make material changes to our form of government from which we may not be able to recover, and our form of government, designed with the blood and courage of our forebears, will be lost forever.
Cross-posted from Observations