Will Washington's Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?
By ERNEST S. CHRISTIAN AND GARY A ROBBINS
Posted 07/30/2010 06:30 PM ET
The Internet is a large-scale version of the "Committees of Correspondence" that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington's failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another.
People are asking, "Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?"
Pruning the power of government begins with the imperial presidency.
Too many overreaching laws give the president too much discretion to make too many open-ended rules controlling too many aspects of our lives. There's no end to the harm an out-of-control president can do.
Bill Clinton lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation — and left America vulnerable to attack. When it came, George W. Bush stood up for America, albeit sometimes clumsily.
Barack Obama, however, has pulled off the ultimate switcheroo: He's diminishing America from within — so far, successfully.
He may soon bankrupt us and replace our big merit-based capitalist economy with a small government-directed one of his own design.
He is undermining our constitutional traditions: The rule of law and our Anglo-Saxon concepts of private property hang in the balance. Obama may be the most "consequential" president ever.
The Wall Street Journal's steadfast Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote that Barack Obama is "an alien in the White House."
His bullying and offenses against the economy and job creation are so outrageous that CEOs in the Business Roundtable finally mustered the courage to call him "anti-business." Veteran Democrat Sen. Max Baucus blurted out that Obama is engineering the biggest government-forced "redistribution of income" in history.
Fear and uncertainty stalk the land. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says America's financial future is "unusually uncertain."
A Wall Street "fear gauge" based on predicted market volatility is flashing long-term panic. New data on the federal budget confirm that record-setting deficits in the $1.4 trillion range are now endemic.
Obama is building an imperium of public debt and crushing taxes, contrary to George Washington's wise farewell admonition: "cherish public credit ... use it as sparingly as possible ... avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt ... bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not ... inconvenient and unpleasant ... ."
Opinion polls suggest that in the November mid-term elections, voters will replace the present Democratic majority in Congress with opposition Republicans — but that will not necessarily stop Obama.
A President Obama intent on achieving his transformative goals despite the disagreement of the American people has powerful weapons within reach. In one hand, he will have a veto pen to stop a new Republican Congress from repealing ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank takeover of banks.
In the other, he will have a fistful of executive orders, regulations and Obama-made fiats that have the force of law.
Under ObamaCare, he can issue new rules and regulations so insidiously powerful in their effect that higher-priced, lower-quality and rationed health care will quickly become ingrained, leaving a permanent stain.
Under Dodd-Frank, he and his agents will control all credit and financial transactions, rewarding friends and punishing opponents, discriminating on the basis of race, gender and political affiliation. Credit and liquidity may be choked by bureaucracy and politics — and the economy will suffer.
He and the EPA may try to impose by "regulatory" fiats many parts of the cap-and-trade and other climate legislation that failed in the Congress.
And by executive orders and the in terrorem effect of an industrywide "boot on the neck" policy, he can continue to diminish energy production in the United States.
By the trick of letting current-law tax rates "expire," he can impose a $3.5 trillion 10-year tax increase that damages job-creating capital investment in an economy struggling to recover. And by failing to enforce the law and leaving America's borders open, he can continue to repopulate America with unfortunate illegals whose skill and education levels are low and whose political attitudes are often not congenial to American-style democracy.
A wounded rampaging president can do much damage — and, like Caesar, the evil he does will live long after he leaves office, whenever that may be.
The overgrown, un-pruned power of the presidency to reward, punish and intimidate may now be so overwhelming that his re-election in 2012 is already assured — Chicago-style.
• Christian, an attorney, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Ford administration.
• Robbins, an economist, served at the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration.