Want America to be Prosperous? Kick the Government Out of the Way
By: Craig Chamberlain
If you have been listening to President Obama lately, you would be getting the impression that the American people want to do anything but work. That might be true of his core constituency in the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it hardly represents the American people as a whole. The Democratic narrative goes something like this: we’re lazy, we’re stupid, we’ve lost our competitive edge, we’ve gotten soft, and we’re more interested in eating greasy fast food than we are in getting to work. Ok, let’s play along. Let’s say that those things are true. Who’s fault is it that the American economy moves as well as an 85 year old man after having his hip replaced?(which once Obamacare is upheld by the court will be a medical impossibility). The American people have not, as a whole, shown any wild enthusiasm for the paternalistic state that President Obama wants to take over.
The American economy is anemic. Unemployment is stuck stubbornly at 9%, we’re 15 trillion dollars in debt, with no hope of that coming down any time soon, inflation is weakening our currency, and we’re regulated to the point where we can’t change a light bulb without written permission from Washington. In a sense we have gotten lazy. I don’t mean in an economic sense. The American people(at least those who aren’t members of the Democratic party) still believe in hard work, self reliance, and enjoying success. We’re not Greece. We’ve gotten lazy politically. We have allowed the politicians, over the last 100 years, to build the progressive state and tear down the federalist one. Both parties have contributed to the growth of government, the GOP Presidents might have not been as ambitious as their Democratic counterparts, but contribute they have. Who can deny that Nixon was, for all intents and purposes, a progressive? When we really get down to it, in the last century there have only been two President who weren’t working the expand the federal authority in some way or another. Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan. Reagan wasn’t able to reduce the impact of Washington because there was always a Democratic congress to block him. Coolidge could have done the nation a great service by repealing the 16th and 17th amendments to the constitution, and putting America back onto the federalist path. He had the votes, but his innate caution stopped him from doing so.
This embrace of progressivism has acted like a slow poison on the economy and now we’re seeing it take its deadly effect. The few Presidents who trimmed back government intervention were the only ones who saw economic success. Twelve years of meddling by Washington didn’t end the great depression. LBJ’s Great Society didn’t bring prosperity, it destroyed it. Nixon’s price controls didn’t do anything to help inflation. Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and even Clinton oversaw economic growth because they were willing to cut taxes and, more or less, allow the free market to do its thing. Admittedly Clinton had to be dragged their kicking and screaming by a Republican congress, but at least he went.
It is no accident that the more interventionist the state it, the more it is run along progressive principles the worse the economy is. The incessant micro managing of the progressive administrations, really shown with the Obama administration, weakens initiative , makes it more difficult and expensive for businesses to operate, and chases away investment. This is the main cause of the current economic malaise. The free market didn’t cause the economy to bottom out, the lack of the free market did. Banks fail because of federal intervention like Dodd- Frank. Fannie and Freddie created the mortgage crisis, not Wall Street.
We have high energy prices because of high taxes, and too much regulation. We have enough oil to cut off the Arabs forever, but can we get to it. Not a chance. As far as President Obama and his cronies are concerned it’s better to waste money on Solyndra, import oil from Saudi Arabia, than it is to develop our own resources. We wouldn’t have three dollars for a gallon of gasoline if we would cut our gas taxes, and allow for more drilling. If we drilled for all the oil we had, we would probably have gas down to around a buck a gallon. We’re not allowed to drill offshore, thanks to Obama, we can’t build pipelines, thanks to Obama, we can’t build new refineries, thanks to Obama. We should be detecting a common theme here.
It’s not a foregone conclusion that America’s best days are behind us, as Mark Steyn or Pat Buchanan would have us believe. The wailing prophets of Anti Americanism on both left and right, have been predicting the collapse of our republic for the last two hundred years. We’ve been up, we’ve been down, but we’re still standing. America is only doomed if we choose to make it that way. If we reelect President Obama then we’re saying that economic paternalism is ok by us, and our best days are really gone. If we elect a government committed to putting Washington into its proper place then America will recover. Government is the problem, and its up to the American voter if they want to solve that problem or whether they buy into the anti business noise coming from Washington.
It’s not hard to make America prosperous. Get the government out of the way and let the American people loose.