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Commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation, Issue 2009-20 More Thought Provoking Commentary!
October 06, 2009
You are invited to read this commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation. It will make you think!
Crooning off Key
By Robert E. Freer, Jr., President of The Free Enterprise Foundation
“It's time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.”
“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
We live in a media world today of sound and light. It can be truly deafening, and the public has tuned out. In Frank Luntz’s new book on "What America Really Wants...Really," he notes that our divisions are drawn so sharply, that we do not want to even hear another perspective or the wishes of those with whom we disagree. I submit that the subtext is so nuanced that the words themselves almost don’t make a difference. The President has both an emotionally comforting speaking voice and a delivery that seeks to shut down our critical faculties. The listener is asked to suspend all doubts in joining his mission to restore our country in his image.
I don’t have a problem with his message, but in the three fragments above is the President crooning off key? How real is his commitment to the nation of our forefathers? I suspect most of us could attribute the same or similar words to someone else whose dream of America’s tomorrow is quite different from the President’s. If we are comforted by these words, we might very well be shocked at what is being done in their name. Clearly, as to this President, this Congress and this time, President Reagan’s words must be our byword, “Trust but Verify!” With huge majorities in Congress, words are whisked away in the breeze. It is only
Do we want our government to design and operate our health care system when it cannot manage its own books or successfully operate the Post Office, manage The Highway Trust Fund or run Medicare? Did we ever think that giving them the reins of government would double the national debt from 8 Trillion dollars to almost 16 trillion in just over one fiscal year? By 2012 we will be nearing 20 Trillion in national debt if matters are allowed to proceed as the president is leading us. Do we want our own ability to enter into financial transactions forfeit to second guessing by a national nanny who will decide whether we are sophisticated enough to handle the investment. And what makes that “nanny so smart?”
Do we want the right to determine the structure of our industries without a secret ballot? Do we wish to subject our citizens to the heavy handed pressure of union thugs to force the conditions of employment? Do we want to raise substantially the cost to every American for electric power while at the same time our major international competitors are refusing to agree to the same conditions? And as for the 25 percent increase in power costs we would be facing, what hope could we have that our incomes would keep pace as those costs cascade throughout the economy making our products scarce on the world’s market shelves?
Do we really want the Federal Reserve setting the salaries in the banking industry and in concert with additional consumer protection legislation presiding over a two tier banking structure with the top four banks having more than half of all deposits matched to captive investment houses with cozy relationships to the Treasury Department? Can our financial institutions survive another round of heavy regulation limiting their own ability to balance rewards and risks? Human behavior will assuredly respond by moving substantial investment activity offshore and leaving us in the backwater of international finance.
In the past weeks, I have written enough about Health Care. Certainly something must be done, but it is the right something that must be done, the something that respects our private sector preferences and doesn’t add further burden to a bloated, inefficient non-responsive federal government. We don’t need some Rube Goldberg contraption with millions of moving parts, all out of sync to what we know and trust.
Our problems have stemmed from a non responsive, non competitive and abusive insurance sector. Let’s fix it! …Let the rest sort itself out. I have no trouble saying that the Baucus Bill does nothing to change the weakness of the President’s program. Too much; Too Fast. We have too much government; too little true consumer control and policy deafness to the cries of those who know what can work in favor of a partisan big government solution.
Luntz’s new book, a compendium of poll results for the past ten years with almost a million inputs, notes that Americans’ greatest complaint is that politicians are out of touch and beholden to lobbyists and special interests. Nothing gets done. Obama cannot be accused of that. He would remake the country in 90 days if he could, but is that what people want? The country asked for transparency, and we got two score government czars unaccountable to anyone. The country wanted responsive government, and we got runaway government that doubled the national debt without a corresponding economic lift. Dr. Luntz says that the people finally have had it. They are fearful, mad as hell, and “they are not going to take it anymore.”
TARP was procured with a lie that it would be used to purchase toxic assets. That upsets me, but Frank says that what really bothered the public was that no one told them what their share was. “Will any of this money trickle down to me?” and when it didn’t and was succeeded by an even bigger bailout, all faith in government took a brutal hit across the land.
At this point what America really wants is ending wasteful government spending (61 percent), No new taxes (and simplify the ones we have) (41 percent), Balance the budget (34 percent), protect the value of home ownership (23 percent) and a freeze in current government spending (21 percent) and an across the board five percent cut in government spending.
Obama was elected because he restored voters’ faith in tomorrow. Almost a year later he has largely replaced that faith with anger and a fear that tomorrow is forfeit. If there is a particular danger for him it is that two thirds of voters under thirty and inexperienced voted for him. This accounted for one out every four votes he got. If this block absorbs the same level of anger as their elders, we are facing fundamental change in the next two elections, but not that sought by the current administration.
Copyright © 2009 by Robert E. Freer, Jr. All rights reserved
About the author: Robert E. Freer, Jr. is President of The Free Enterprise Foundation. He is a Visiting Professor, at The Citadel and elected in 2005 to be their first John S. Grinalds Leader in Residence. A regular contributor to the Mercury, He can be reached by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org". Copies of his earlier columns can be found at www.Free-Enterprise-Foundation.org.
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