WASHINGTON -- Julius Caesar was murdered by Brutus and his friends in the Roman legislature on the ides of March 44 B.C. Free enterprise died at the hands of Barack and his friends in the American legislature on the 30th of March 2009. The following day, those same ministers of American government completed the death warrant for civic duty in our republic. They called it the "Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act." The bill passed -- as did the killing of Caesar -- with overwhelming support from the legislature.
It was a remarkable performance, worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. In the space of 48 hours, the president of the United States seized control of one of the world's largest manufacturing companies and fired its CEO. He followed up by congratulating our representatives for creating the 14th-largest paid entity on the planet -- a quarter-million government-paid "volunteers." And then he departed the capital to receive the cheers of adoring crowds -- in Europe. If Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin had done any of this, Americans would have gone crazy. As it was, most of our countrymen apparently enjoyed the show.
Mr. Obama not only fired Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, but also vowed to remake the company's board of directors in his own image. He also forced Chrysler to merge its operations with Fiat -- a foreign auto manufacturer -- and dictated to the two firms what kinds of products they may and may not manufacture. Finally, he assured the American people -- and presumably those in other nations, as well -- that "O-Team Auto Repairs" will stand behind these companies' warranties. How this can be perceived to be fair to Ford Motor Co. -- the only American auto brand that has not taken a government "bailout" -- wasn't even mentioned.
While Mr. Obama was firing GM's CEO and dictating terms to Chrysler, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was threatening the same treatment to bank executives, and Rep. Barney Frank's Financial Services Committee was preparing to regulate the pay of ordinary Americans. On March 23, the committee adopted HR 1664, a bill that retroactively would impose government controls on the pay of all employees of any company that takes bailout funds and would prevent compensation for any employee that is "unreasonable or excessive." Those standards will be defined by the secretary of treasury and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who will judge "the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates."
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.