Oliver North

WASHINGTON -- For the past seven years, according to Rep. Jim Moran, "We have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it." Actually, that "simplistic notion" has been the linchpin of the American system of free enterprise for the past two centuries. It has served to make the United States the most bountiful, wealthy and charitable nation on earth. Yet Moran says that system "doesn't work in the long run."

My fellow Americans, welcome to the long run.

The coincidence of an economic downturn and our most recent political realignment have produced calls for urgent, dramatic, decisive action. Liberal politicians, such as Moran, are suggesting that we all would be better off if we'd adopt a more punitive tax code and use the Internal Revenue Service to redistribute the wealth. Republicans and Democrats already have allied to use our tax dollars to bail out an insurance giant, mortgage companies and financial institutions that made bad loans and extended credit to borrowers who couldn't pay. Coming soon: tax dollars to save U.S. automakers. Attached to all these U.S. Treasury checks: countless pages of new fine-print regulations designed to prevent future financial stupidity -- or to ameliorate its consequences. But as they say in the Marines, "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

This week, here in Washington, President Bush is hosting world leaders for a global game of "Monopoly" with yet-to-be-determined rules, regulations and restrictions. Billed as the "Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy," the weekend seance is being described by some participants as "Bretton Woods II." For the benefit of those who have forgotten their high-school history lessons, the first Bretton Woods conference -- held in July 1944 in the New Hampshire town with the same name -- officially was called the "United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference." At the time, the United States was the world's only economic powerhouse, and the goal was to construct a functioning, sustainable international economic system in the aftermath of World War II. It almost worked. Almost.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.