This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published February 14, 2014 on The Washington Times website.
On Presidents Day, we honor those men who helped start and guide our nation. Their leadership got us through the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars and the Cold War.
Until recently, they all seemed to understand what makes America exceptional. But now, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
You know that clever ad by a satellite-dish company that shows what happens to a man who gets bored waiting for the cable guy?
As with the children’s books that began with “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” the man endures a series of mishaps, the final one showing his elderly dad getting punched over a can of soup during a riot. The tagline is, “Don’t let your dad get punched over a can of soup.”
It’s a perfect analogy to the spiraling tyranny of centralized mismanagement epitomized by Obamacare and other rogue federal programs under President Obama. Here’s how it goes:
If you don’t bother to pay attention or even vote, you get a liberal in the White House and a bunch of them in Congress. When you get liberals in power, you get bad laws. When you have bad laws, you need penalties to ensure compliance. When you have more penalties, you need more enforcers. When you have more enforcers, you lose your freedom to run your business. When you can’t run your business, you lay off people.
When you lay off people, they go on welfare and food stamps. When they go on welfare and food stamps, they vote for lawmakers who will give them more free stuff. To pay for more free stuff, the government raises taxes and borrows money from China to service the national debt. When China crooks its finger, Uncle Sam crawls to Beijing, asking for mercy. Don’t make Uncle Sam crawl to Beijing asking for mercy.
This fictitious ad was inspired by the news that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned medium-sized companies that they must certify — under penalty of perjury — that Obamacare was not a motivating factor in laying off employees.
The IRS now wants to get inside the heads of managers and determine their motives. File this one under Thought Crime.
Is it “1984” yet? Wait — that was 30 years ago, and we had Ronald Reagan instead of the caudillo in the White House who thinks it’s funny to flaunt his ability to “break the protocol” at Monticello and access a place where the rabble tourists cannot tread: “That’s the good thing as a president. I can do whatever I want.”
It’s no joke. He certainly can and will abuse power as long as he faces no serious challenge to his daily constitutional violations. Congress won’t stop him, and his Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. regards laws and court rulings as mere suggestions to be ignored.
On the same day that Mr. Obama joked with socialist French President Francoise Hollande about his own growing despotism, he illegally suspended more of Obamacare’s employer mandate.
To manage all the chaos erupting under Obamacare, the IRS is adding thousands of enforcers. That’s actually the most easily predicted effect of socialism: the worse it gets, the more the state resorts to coercion.
Socialism depends on force because it is directly counter to human nature. People naturally protect their own family interests, and then their religious communities and neighbors, secular communities and on up to the nation-state.
Socialism is in a constant war with all its competitors — the intermediary institutions between the individual and the state. Hence, socialism advances an endless series of taxes and policies that weaken resistance and create more dependency on government, usually under the rubric of solving “inequality.”
The first casualty of socialism is freedom of the press. Perhaps that’s why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CIN),” whereby researchers grill reporters and editors about what they cover and why.
If they don’t like what they hear, they text the newsroom’s coordinates to Homeland Security’s drone division. Just kidding about that last part — for now.
In a chilling column in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 11, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai painted an Orwellian picture of an FCC run amok.
Participation in the CIN is “voluntary — in theory,” Mr. Pai writes, noting that broadcasters are dependent on the FCC for licensing and would think twice before telling the FCC where to stick its survey. Mr. Pai also asks, “Why does the CIN study include newspapers, when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”
Why indeed, except that the FCC under Mr. Obama already has proposed Net Neutrality rules for the Internet despite Congress’ never having given the FCC authority over the Internet and after a federal court specifically rejected it.
From seizing the health care system to using the IRS to cripple the Tea Party groups to using the Justice Department to attack voter-ID laws and immigration enforcement and now preparing to send FCC “researchers” into newsrooms, the Obama administration has answered the question of what happens when you give liberals the Oval Office.
It’s not pretty or even a bit funny.