In the last year, there have been several government actions that are truly un-American. All of them have been talked about, but nothing was done to really expose the true harm that resulted. This week, I want to focus on four of those actions. Unfortunately, all four unrelated situations were looked at as political disagreements and seemingly quickly forgotten. All of these are areas where true conservatives should be shouting at the top of our lungs, yet one of them was scarcely called out by our “conservative” politicians. Let’s start with that one.
BP, British Petroleum, the company we all love to hate rightfully was called upon to be accountable for their actions. But, many politicians and the media implied that somehow BP’s action was purposeful. That is simply ludicrous. There was only downside to the oil well blowing up and spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The scary thing that happened with BP though happened on May 2nd when Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, said, “Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum.” On the surface, we all agree with the sentiment…BP has to pay! But, think about the implication of a government that thinks in terms of having “their boot on the neck” of anyone or any business unless they are a declared enemy of the United States. Those words are perhaps the most chilling words to come out of the federal government in my lifetime. They imply a level of control over the “subjects” reminiscent of the communist regimes of the 20th century. Why didn’t more Republican politicians have the courage to point this out?
The second instance happened when shortly after the healthcare bill passed, several large companies announced the immediate cost to their company. Some companies’ costs were going to increase by more than a billion dollars and many others were in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Henry Waxman, congressman from California, immediately wanted to hold hearings where the heads of these companies were going to be required to come to Washington and explain themselves. Further, he demanded these companies’ internal emails regarding these costs. Clearly this was an action by the federal government to vilify private corporations for daring to speak out against ObamaCare.
Republicans quickly pointed out that these companies were required by federal law to report these charges and Waxman backed down. Unfortunately, for most of us, that was it. Waxman looked like an idiot and we “won” a small political skirmish. But, what about the bigger issue that government would even think it is appropriate to hold the hearing simply because companies would dare say anything bad about ObamaCare? Where are the elected officials making clear how truly abusive this attempted government action was?
The third instance happened in the auto bailout when private bondholders were bullied into taking a back seat to the unions when it came to being paid back. The reality is bondholders should have been made whole before the equity holders or the unions got one penny. But, we all know the unions now own a major stake (even though the bondholder received pennies on the dollar) in both GM and Chrysler. This action was counter to the entire history of contract law which is fundamental to capitalism. If we can’t trust government to uphold contracts as they have for two hundred years, we destroy the faith in the very glue that holds our economy together. In short, we destroy the underpinnings of capitalism. We see something similar when politicians want to legislate mortgage companies to reduce principle balances on the loans they made. I expect my representatives to be flooding the airwaves with information about how destructive this is to the very fundamentals of our economic system.
Finally, this past month, we found out that a thuggish Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, sent a letter to health insurers that have been blaming part of their 2011 premium increases on ObamaCare and warned that “there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.” This is the type of behavior we’d expect out of a Hugo Chavez, not the administration of the President of the United States. This administration is willing to bully citizens and private businesses not only to further their goals, but more importantly bully them into silence.
The examples above all seemed to come and go with small political skirmishes, but they portend a much deeper problem than political battles. They truly are indicative of a government that sees itself as supreme. We must quit seeing every political battle in a vacuum. The fundamentals of American exceptionalism are under attack from within. This scares the hell out of me, and I hope it scares you as well. I hope we are moved to action as citizens. If we don’t take action, sadly many if not most of our elected officials won’t have the courage. As I heard Rick Santorum say this past week, conservative voters must be the calcium in the backbone of our conservative politicians. We must remind them of the words of our Declaration of Independence, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”
Many moderates like to use the words prudence or realistic when talking about political compromise. The problem is all too often, Republicans are being prudent; all the while, the left is destroying this country. It doesn’t matter what words you use, prudence, realistic, cautious, careful…they all lead to failure. While Republicans have been prudent, government has grown to unsustainable levels and will totally swamp the private sector in the coming years. Maybe it is time for Republicans to adopt a new way of thinking. Maybe it is time to be like our founders…they were radicals!
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