“I only care about the moral issues."
If I’ve heard that phrase once, then I’ve heard it a few hundred times. It’s a common response among social conservatives during campaigns and election cycles.
And this year, as Washington compromises our nation’s future with profligate spending and economic turmoil threatens nations abroad, we need to add to that category called “moral issues.” It’s time to recognize that economic policy matters are, themselves, moral concerns, and America is currently on a very immoral economic path.
As a writer and talk show host I covered the last presidential election cycle in detail. Hosting daily talk radio in Washington, DC in 2008, it would become apparent when I was speaking with a socially conservative caller to my show - such callers would frequently express concerns over a specific set of issues. “I don’t think McCain is really pro-life” was a common concern. And “Obama says he opposes gay marriage, but I don’t believe him” was another.
To these types of statements about abortion and the definition of marriage, I would often respond with questions about economics, just to see where the discussion would go. “But what do you think of Senator Obama’s plan to raise taxes on rich people – is that a good idea?” I might ask. Or “Do you think John McCain is right about the stock market crash when he says that it’s all because of ‘greed on Wall Street?’”
Generally speaking, my economic questions would bring these brief talk show conversations to an abrupt end. “I only care about the moral issues” was the response I’d usually hear – as though economic issues are morally neutral or of no moral significance at all – and then the caller would say goodbye.
That was in 2008. Today, all Americans – social conservatives included - need to be resolute, and recognize that our government’s disposition towards private enterprise and wealth must change. Simply allowing politicians to control more of our economic resources is a formula for more trouble, and more trouble lies ahead if our current President – and his ideology – remain in power.
Given what has happened over the course of the Obama presidency thus far, it should be apparent that America is now in the midst of an economic policy revolution. Both by legislation from the Congress, and by executive orders from the White House, President Obama has in less than three years emerged as a de facto CEO over huge chunks of our economy.
Car companies, banks, energy and insurance companies – the President has the power to hire and fire CEO’s, determine their compensation rates, and decide which products and services these formerly private enterprises will create. When government wields this kind of power, individuals lose their freedoms. And while President Obama has perhaps fulfilled some of his own wishes, it has come at the cost of private people’s money, and the future solvency of our government.
The costs of the United States government’s “acquisition” of G.M, and portions of the Chrysler Corporation, have yet to be fully calculated. But the two companies – especially GM – have become high-priced tools with which the President has sought to carry out his agenda.
Unionized assembly workers at G.M. have gotten pay increases over the past couple of years – and they are a key voter block for the President and his party. And GM has led the charge with electric vehicles (the Chevy Volt) – the car has proven unsellable and has wasted future generations of American wealth, but no matter. The President fulfills his needs to create a so-called “green energy future.”
The President’s executive mandate for insurance companies to provide abortion and contraception coverage is indeed a violation of religious freedom, but it also must be viewed through the lenses of economic morality. As a result of this mandate, the President has now used the power of his office to require an entire industry (the insurance industry) to provide a service, without getting paid for it. This has dealt a crushing blow to personal economic liberty, and such heavy handedness creates a huge disincentive for would-be business owners to create new enterprises.
Empowering politicians to take-over more control of our private economic resources and choices is NOT a pathway to prosperity. Is America seeing the “moral issues” more clearly this time, and are we ready to make an economic “about face?”
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.