Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Government Dependence Day

This is the most dismal Independence Day in memory.

I’m sure that there have been more dreary Fourths of July in our nation’s history. The first few were under British rule and it seemed that the young nation might not survive to celebrate the anniversary of its birth in peace. In 1826, two American heroes, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4. In 1863, although most Americans did not know it yet, almost 8,000 Americans had just died in battle at Gettysburg. In 1942, Pearl Harbor was a recent memory but the American victory at Midway had lessened the sting of the surprise attack. On several Independence Days it seemed that the country might not be around to celebrate another.

There have been other Independence Days when the celebrations must have felt hollow. Rarely has that been due to the actions of our own government, however.

This year the celebrations come less than a week after the Supreme Court upheld the largest expansion of federal power since the New Deal. The federal government exercised unprecedented control over every American citizen and almost 20 percent of the U.S. economy. The founders, proponents of weak and limited central government, are undoubtedly spinning in their graves.

The passage of the health care law was a betrayal on many levels. Most obviously, the Democrats who voted for the bill betrayed their constituents. A strong majority opposed the bill when it was passed. Rather than persuading people to support their legislation, the Democrats, led by an elitist minority, rammed the bill through Congress using the parliamentary trick of budget reconciliation to avoid a Republican filibuster. They betrayed their oath of office by passing a law that was clearly unconstitutional (Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion notwithstanding).

The Democrats also betrayed the ideals of the founders of the United States. The founder of their own party, Thomas Jefferson said, “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.”

Jefferson would have been appalled at Obamacare, which is the antithesis of his goals for America. Our government, $17 trillion in debt, cannot be called frugal. It is increasingly involved in even the most trivial aspects of our lives. It takes bread from the mouths of labor to give to those who do not work. By Jefferson’s definition, our government is not good.

Jefferson, who authored the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom would oppose the government forcing religious groups and believers to purchase contraceptive and abortifacient drugs. He would likely oppose abortion, having penned the phrase “right to life” in the Declaration of Independence. He would also oppose the attempts to silence those oppose abortion and same-sex marriage. “No man,” Jefferson wrote, shall “suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

As the author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson would rebuke the authoritarian tendencies of our current president, a man who is only too willing to circumvent the will of the people and their elected representatives in Congress by legislating with federal agencies and Executive Orders. The Revolutionary War was fought to rid Americans of a king. Jefferson would not want a president who acts like one.

Jefferson, who warned that “the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered,” would be angry at the collusion between government and business that birthed Obamacare. Democrats in Congress attacked insurance and pharmaceutical companies as profiteers in the media, but secretly worked with them to craft and pass the bill. The loser in this “crony capitalism” is the American people.

The courts, whose judges swear to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution” “without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” ignored critical aspects of the Constitution, U.S. law, and American history. Justice Roberts rewrote the ACA and changed the mandate from a penalty to a tax. Thomas Jefferson would say, “Taxation without representation is tyranny!”

Much has been written about the failings of Obamacare, how it will result in a lower quality of health care in the United States, higher prices, and, ultimately, shortages and rationing. Economically, all of these outcomes are extremely likely.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Obamacare might be the undoing of the entire country. For a nation with $17 trillion in debt and a debt-to-GDP ratio that is greater than 100 percent, the last thing that is needed is another multi-trillion dollar entitlement, complete with tax increases, that will suck money out of the private sector and further slow growth. Even worse, the mounting debt load brings the nation even closer to a complete financial collapse.

As the Democrats systematically destroy the aspects of this country that made it great, the current economic morass is increasingly likely to indeed be the “new normal.” Emulating Europe’s welfare state means that the U.S. will also have Europe’s chronically high unemployment, lower income and wages, higher poverty, slower growth, and higher taxes.

By financing entitlements with debt to be repaid in the future, we are mortgaging our children’s lives and making them slaves to the countries and corporations that buy our debt. We are selling their future just as surely as if we blew their inheritance in the casinos of Las Vegas. In the end there will be nothing left: No money and nothing to show for it. We are impoverishing ourselves. As Rep. Paul Ryan said, “This is the most predictable crisis we have ever had.”

The Democrats have no solution to the crisis. Their only answer is to spend more and hope the economy recovers. Most do not even acknowledge the problem.

Lest anyone accuse me of favoritism, the Republicans have contributed to the problem as well. The Republican spending spree under George W. Bush was exceeded only by that of Barack Obama and Franklin Roosevelt. Republicans expanded government through the Medicare prescription drug entitlement (which at least did consider market realities) and the No Child Left Behind Act. On the plus side, the Republicans may have learned their lesson.

The Republicans are our last hope in government. We have already been failed by one political party that is now ideologically closer to Marx and Engels than Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. We have been failed by the president and failed by Congress. We have been failed by the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. Some Catholics already see the need for civil disobedience in resisting Obamacare’s anti-religious mandates. If Republicans are elected and fail to change the direction of the country, civil disobedience will be our only recourse.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.” America isn’t dead, but she is critically ill. It is up to the people to save her.

This Independence Day, let us vow that it will be our last Government Dependence Day.

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