An Economic Wake-Up Call by Colin A. Hanna
Too many Americans are turning a blind eye to the seriously radical agenda that President Obama is unfolding, motivated by their wholesome and patriotic desire to let the new President enjoy the benefit of all doubts. However, the Obama team’s decision to push the envelope of the honeymoon period by front-loading an unprecedented number of truly extreme proposals demands that we engage in critical thinking and not just sentimental forbearance. Yesterday, a series of such radical proposals was unveiled proposing an extraordinary restructuring of not only our financial system but more broadly our entire economic system. It struck me as the kind of wake-up call that we simply cannot ignore, and yet it appears from the morning-after news coverage in the major national newspapers that we are doing precisely that.
The plan is at once revolutionary and destructive by proposing that the federal government should assume new powers to regulate and even to take over and manage vast portions of the private sector. Here are some aspects of the plan that should shock anyone who treasures market-based economic freedom:
• The administration will call for “oversight of executive pay” at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies.Assuming new governmental powers to set salaries in a wide swath of private sector companies merely because they are publicly traded, and to take over the actual management of those companies and dispose of their assets if they get into trouble, goes far beyond anything that the American public has ever contemplated, let alone supported. To suggest that such a radical change could be attempted simply by issuing new regulations rather than by openly debating legislation is stunningly arrogant.
• They may try to effect some major changes through regulations rather than through legislation.
• The pay rules could be applied more broadly to publicly traded companies.
• Another aspect of the plan would give the government greater authority to take over large, troubled companies that are not now regulated by Washington.
These are not mere details and refinements of an unfolding financial rescue plan, they are dramatic and unprecedented expansions of government power that reveal a profound animus towards our entire free enterprise system. To put it another way, they are not in the tradition of capitalism but rather in the tradition of European democratic socialism. The President and his cadre of social and financial engineers believe that they should move now because they believe that we are desperate for anything that looks like bold action.
We must experience an epiphany of awareness if we are to save our nation from this grave threat to our economic freedom. The loss of freedom on the scale proposed will result in a profound change in all aspects of our national life which will result in America becoming a nation in irreversible economic, military and cultural decline. The old media will not rise to this challenge, but the new media can and must.