Obama’s Fundamental Transformation of America
- 15 March 2009 by Author 0 Comments
Obama’s Fundamental Transformation of America
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 03/15/2009
When Barack Obama said last year that he would “fundamentally transform America,” I don’t think many Americans knew what he was talking about. Regrettably we’re seeing more each day what his vision of that transformation is, and Newsweek captured that vision with its cover a couple weeks ago, “We’re All Socialists Now.”
Each day seems to bring another announcement of massive government spending on a new Obama program. Each one brings increased government control over the economy. With that increased control one of the major tenets of socialism is achieved: the means of production and distribution are owned or controlled by the government.
The problems with this agenda are multitudinous, but there is a principle that was fundamental to the founding of this country that brands government control of the economy as anathema. That is the principle of freedom. As power is ceded to the government, or as government expands beyond its Constitutional limits, as we see increasingly every day, individual freedom and liberty are sacrificed.
Our Declaration of Independence proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We do not derive our rights from the government, but from God. But the government can sure take them away. Each massive spending bill, exploitative budget, proposed tax increase, and cap and trade energy scheme threatens our freedom and individual liberty a little more.
Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate for Economics, persuasively argued that economic and political freedom are inseparable. Those freedoms we assume to be ours by legal recognition of a divine right from God, not from the government, are inextricably linked with the economic ability to exercise those rights. Friedman said, “A free private market is a mechanism for achieving voluntary cooperation…. It applies to any human activity, not simply to economic transactions. We are speaking a language. Where did that language come from? Did some government entity construct the language and instruct people to use it?… No, the language we speak developed through a free private market….” Once the government is involved, it is no longer a free, voluntary cooperation. It is coerced, controlled, and rationed.
Other brilliant economists and principled leaders through the years have argued against precisely this kind of economic power grab we see transforming our nation. Thomas Jefferson, in his inimitable style declared, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. … [A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
Although he’s heterodox to government spend-thrifts, Ronald Reagan echoed that principle in 1981. He said, “We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. … Only private industry in the last analysis can provide jobs with a future. … The fact is, we’ll never build a lasting economic recovery by going deeper into debt at a faster rate than we ever have before. … In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” How true those words echo for today.
I love the America that was founded on freedom, and God-given rights. I would prefer those who desire to “fundamentally transform” America simply move to Europe for their secular, socialistic systems, and leave the “land of the free” to freedom-lovers who want it to stay that way.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.