“President Barack Obama has no intention of growing the U.S. economy; he simply wants to control it.”
Do those seem like controversial words to you?
Back in March of 2009 I penned a column in my local hometown newspaper that began with that statement. At the time I lived in a conservative suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, yet I had people stopping me out in public and chastising me for being “rude” and “judgmental” with our new President.
I even got an angry earful from another parent at one of my son’s soccer games. As far as the outraged mom was concerned, my “condemnation” of President Obama had “racist overtones” (my editorial made no references to anybody’s ethnicity).
Today, Americans might still disagree about the President’s true intentions. But it is undeniable that, after roughly eighteen months of the Obama Presidency, the United States economy is sustaining very little growth (if any), yet the amount of control over private business affairs and economic resources that is possessed by the executive branch of our government has increased dramatically.
And as our nation celebrates yet another “Independence Day” holiday, the truth of the matter is that America is rapidly becoming a place of dependence. We are increasingly dependent on the decisions of Barack Obama and those in his administration for our livelihoods, dependent on the whims of government bureaucrats for our personal wellbeing, and dependent on the overtures of foreign nations (China in particular) for the sustaining of our economy and infrastructure. If America is to regain its footing and begin moving back in the direction of freedom and independence, Americans of all stripes must begin thinking more clearly about economics, and the proper role of government in our lives.
“Thinking about economics” – I’m sure that sounds like a boring activity to many. But perhaps it would be helpful to view economics through the lenses of some basic questions about fairness, and about what is right and wrong.
For example, should Americans be free to achieve and to be as successful as they wish to be, without the threat of their government publicly maligning them, setting limits on their achievement, and taking away ever-expanding proportions of their spoils? Should American individuals and businesses ever be permitted to fail? Or, should our government spend our tax dollars “rescuing” and “bailing out” people and companies who get themselves into trouble? Is it the proper role of our American government to, as President Obama likes to say, “level the playing field” – taking wealth away from people whom politicians and bureaucrats believe have “enough,” or perhaps “too much,” and giving wealth away to people whom politicians and bureaucrats believe are “deserving of more?”
Over these past 18 months, our U.S. federal government has been actively pursuing all of these economic redistributionist agendas – taking wealth and opportunity away from certain groups of Americans, and redistributing those things to certain other groups – and judging by current opinion poll data, the vast majority of Americans are not happy with these types of agendas being forced upon them. Yet this radically different vision of America didn’t just simply “happen” – we, collectively, empowered it, and brought it upon ourselves, by electing Barack Obama to be our President, and by electing his party as the majority in the Congress.
If we are to return to an American vision of independence and personal responsibility, we’ve got to choose more wisely in the future, and in order to do that we’ve got to start paying closer attention to those who want to be our leaders.
Many Americans are today lamenting that President Obama hasn’t devoted more effort towards “job creation.” But what part of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign spelled out “job creation” in the first place?
For two years, Senator Obama traveled the country, taking about, in no particular order: A) raising taxes on oil companies to get even with them for their so-called “windfall profits;” B) using the power of government to “reign-in” executive salaries; C) raising the capital gains tax rate; D) using the power of government to “crack-down” (whatever that means) on both the insurance, and pharmaceutical industries; E) raising income tax rates on high-income earners (his definition of “high-income earner” has been raised and lowered repeatedly); and E) using the power of government to fulfill that elusive promise of making both healthcare, and a college education, “universal.” None of these ideas spell out “prosperity” for the American people, but they do entail handing-over more control of our private affairs to Barack Obama.
And that is where things stand today, on our nation’s “Independence Day.” As U.S. Senator John Thune summarized so succinctly in the Wall Street Journal nine months ago, “President Obama has become the de facto CEO of large chunks of our economy, with the power to hire and fire executives, dictate salaries, declare what products should be made, and decide winners and losers in the marketplace…” And that assessment was true, even before this year’s passage of President Obama’s landmark “healthcare” bill, a piece of legislation that his policy advisors now tell us will inevitably lead to healthcare rationing.
Americans have some weighty choices lying ahead. Will we choose independence – or something less?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.