THE STATE OF DISUNION
Attorney Jonathan Emord
February 8, 2010
At a time of continuing recession, in the wake of government spending unparalleled in American history, and in the presence of rising unemployment rates beyond the double digit mark, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address offered not a fundamental change in the direction of the federal government but more of the same. Although he praised himself for the rapidity of government intervention into the market and massive expenditure, he could not crow about the success of those measures because none has ended the recession, reduced the ever rising unemployment rates, or restored American economic predominance in the world.
One could sense a degree of defensiveness and unease in the President’s remarks, clearly indicating that he is getting the message that Americans are generally not satisfied with the course he has charted. But, while a true education in the laws of economics and liberty would lead to an abandonment in his big government agenda, true to form President Obama only sees big government as the solution. We are now to endure a new iteration of the failed federal stimulus bill. The one now being trumpeted by the White House, Senator Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will call for $100 or more billion to be spent on employing people in temporary jobs for road, bridge and infrastructure projects and for retaining teachers and other public employees again on a temporary basis.
Like the original stimulus bill, the measures do nothing at all to address the underlying problems that prevent American business from growing and employing the available labor pool. Instead, the measures create a new army of government dependents who, after the first $100 billion is spent, will need a perpetual fund to keep them in their make work jobs. In addition, the President again calls for eliminating tax cuts on those earning $250,000 or more, to impose new taxes on large banks and investment operations, and to tax certain health care plans. Finally, he criticizes those who favor deregulation and, by implication, assures that there will be no end in the growth of the regulatory state.
Like the bailout bill of his predecessor, his own increases in the bailouts, and his stimulus bill, the new jobs bill will do nothing to change the underlying dynamic that creates unemployment and will add to inflationary pressures and to the national debt. The new taxes will only increase unemployment and will diminish investments necessary to expand the economy. The advance of regulation will likewise squeeze out of existence company after company, adding to unemployment and decreasing opportunity and economic growth.
The President has yet to appreciate that government is parasitic by nature. He has yet to appreciate that the wealth he uses for social engineering comes from those who possess true genius in satisfying the needs of people, which satisfaction has led to wealth creation, and who will be far less willing and able to satisfy those needs if constantly deprived of the fruits of their labors. He has yet to appreciate that in a recession increases in taxes, increases in regulation, and increases in the national debt sap the life’s blood out of the host upon whose back the government rides. It should come as no surprise, then, that this expensive government planning (the product of those who necessarily have, at best, a view of what the market has been and not what it is) cannot end the recession, stem rising unemployment, and restore America to economic predominance in the world because it completely ignores the root cause of those conditions.
It is impolitic for the President to recognize the simple fact that unleashing the free market to permit massive business growth is the means to end the recession, restore full employment, and return America to global economic dominance. Doing so requires a degree of humility neither he nor Senator Reid nor Speaker Pelosi has. It requires them to accept that nothing they do with other people’s money will be as effective in fueling economic growth as what the people who earned that money do with it. It requires them to accept that a businessman who has earned a profit knows better than they do how to invest that money to grow his business and employ more people. It requires them to accept that tomorrow will not be the idyllic vision they would wish upon America but will be the product of hundreds of millions of separate, independent dreams, the success or failure of which will be decided by consumers pursuing their own self-interest. In short, it requires that they come to respect the genius of free enterprise and appreciate, as did our Founding Fathers, that government is a necessary evil best kept limited, not a positive good that should experience constant growth.
Rather than build the largest government in Western civilization, rather than attempt to command the American people to adopt a single vision of the future, and rather than depend on redistribution of wealth to achieve modest employment gains, this government would do well to learn the lessons that come from a free enterprise economy, the source of prosperity upon which they feed. Freedom, together with the right to retain the fruits of one’s labors, is the secret to American greatness.
To end the recession, dramatically decrease unemployment, and restore American economic dominance in the world, we should declare a two year moratorium on all federal business and income taxes and should endeavor not to freeze the cost of the federal government but to cut it in half (from 25% of the gross domestic product to 12.5%). Imagine how the trillions now taken in taxes could be put to best and highest use by those who have earned the money. We would witness the greatest economic miracle in world history. We should pass Congressman Ron Paul’s Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act that would prohibit any regulation from taking effect unless specifically codified by Congress, restoring the separation of powers required by our Constitution and halting the flood of federal regulation that is washing out of the market small business after small business year after year.
This President trusts in government more than he trusts in the American people. If he truly trusted the American people, he would trust them to keep and spend their own earnings. He would trust them to follow their own dreams of industry and improvement even if it produced an economy that differed from his own ideal. He would trust them with freedom rather than take that freedom away from them. The problem with the President is not that he lacks intelligence and not that he lacks ability, but that he lacks ultimate faith in the American people.
He does not trust us to command our own economic destinies. He would rather trust in those the American people distrust the most—the Congress of the United States and the unelected army of federal bureaucrats—to spend Americans hard earned wealth and to direct the American economy to go where it otherwise would not.
© 2010 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved