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Government is the Problem

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

What are the ramifications if the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate provision of Obamacare unconstitutional? This is the provision that requires individuals to purchase government defined health insurance or pay a fine.

I hope it will serve as a wake up call to a nation that I believe is still sleeping through a crisis.

Liberal and open ended interpretation of the Constitution, to the point of rendering it practically meaningless, opened the door to steady growth of the federal government and its inexorable encroachment in our lives over the last half century. The problems we are having today all originate here.

Even if Obamacare is repealed, we still have a major problem in healthcare. Costs keep escalating because there is no real, functioning marketplace in healthcare. Ninety percent of healthcare expenditures are made by third parties – government, employers, insurance companies. All due to direct or indirect government controls.

Our growing burden of taxes and government debt – what now is breaking European countries and about to break us – all stem from the growth of government programs that open ended interpretation of the constitution enabled.

Our private economy, where freedom and the creative spirit are still allowed to operate, is going great.

A miracle is taking place in energy with new domestic production of oil and gas made possible by new drilling technologies.

Oil imports as a percentage of our overall domestic oil consumption has dropped almost 25 percent just since 2005. In North Dakota, where much of this new oil production is happening, production has increased from 10,000 barrels a day in 2003 to 400,000 barrels a day.

Natural gas production has increased 26 percent since 2005. This is producing prices in the United States for natural gas that are the lowest in the world. As result, according to University of Michigan economist Mark Perry, firms that use natural gas, like chemical and fertilizer businesses, are actively talking about returning to the United States.

New technologies abound, with more and more gadgets appearing all the time at lower and lower prices.

Computer equipment that cost $1,000 in 1997 today would sell for about $65, Perry calculated.

So why are we turning more and more of our lives over to the most unproductive, least efficient part of our country – government?

Just over the last four years, government spending has increased to take 25 percent of the American economy from 20 percent.

The result is the most sluggish economic recovery since the great depression. It is a sign of the depressed spirit of the American people that it is actually viewed as good news that unemployment is now 8.3 percent. This is almost two and half points higher than the average unemployment rate in our country from 1948 to 2010.

But while we suffer, Washington parties.

While the national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, it’s 5.5 percent in Washington, DC.

According to demographer Joel Kotkin, 2.7 percent population growth in Washington, DC in 2011 was the highest in the nation.

He reports that the economy in the national capital region expanded 14 percent since 2007.

Over the last decade, 50,000 new jobs in the federal government bureaucracy were created, along with an increase in local federal spending of 166 percent.

No wonder in a survey just released by Gallup, residents of Washington, DC expressed the highest level of confidence in the U.S. economy in the nation.

Isn’t it time to turn this around? Why are Americans still tolerating this?

If we are going to get the nation back on track, we’ve got to get our resources out of Washington and back into the private sector where they can be used creatively and productively. This is how to create jobs.

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