Guest column/Our central government’s reaching critical mass
After years of enrichment, our central government is very close to achieving critical power mass and triggering the equivalent of an irreversible nuclear reaction that will permanently lower the trajectory of the American way of life and the individual freedom we enjoy.
The give-and-take constitutional balance and rule of law within the central government, between the central government and the 50 states, and the traditional role of government to protect individual freedoms is eroding in the wake of a massive and frequently unlawful power grab in Washington. A putsch is under way.
The growing $17 trillion national debt is out of control, but overspending and overpromising continue unabated as we borrow and print money with impunity. Despite record high central government tax revenues, spending continues to accelerate out of control and our unfunded liabilities run into untold hundreds of trillions. We are routinely lied to and deceived by those who purport to serve and protect us. The terms government veracity and constitutional republic have become oxymoronic. Patriotism, national interest and loyalty to America have become punch lines to Washington cocktail party jokes.
Our entire health care system has been turned on its head in order to feed government’s insatiable appetite for more power, purview and control over an increasingly subservient population. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in typical newspeak, is not about protection, affordability or care. Rather, it is designed to unify central government’s access to personal information for the benefit of the government and greater control and pacification of the citizenry.
Information gathering is augmented by monitoring our communications without permission or oversight, the data to be consolidated, shared, stored and used for any purpose deemed necessary by the bureaucracy. A corrupt and unaccountable Internal Revenue Service has been given a free hand to enforce the PPACA, including access to our bank accounts and complete personal and financial information.
Governing by regulation, edict and sophistry, the central government is packing the courts to prevent judicial intrusion and to protect itself from review or oversight. Government bureaus and departments can act with little restraint and manipulate what was once the most robust and free economy on the planet. Despite the demonstrated failure of central planning in the former Soviet Union, we are being led down that same path by dozens of unelected central government czars. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are routinely misappropriated and wasted with arrogant impunity and indifference. There are no consequences for failure in this Central Government and those at the top live in taxpayer financed opulence and privilege formerly reserved for royalty.
Despite representations to the contrary, the central government has refused to secure our nation’s borders, eliminate foreign aid to enemies, deal with the insipient plague of the illegal drug trade, enforce existing immigration laws or remove those who are here illegally.
Unaccountable government czars and bureaucrats have been employed to declare and fight a war on coal, increase energy prices, prevent energy development on Federal lands, block energy distribution and tax American corporations into submission or exile. Empirical evidence to the contrary, we continue to adhere to politically-driven notions of manmade global warming for the primary purpose of taxing and redistributing wealth while weakening our national sovereignty and economy in the process.
The finest military in history has been used to propagate social experiments while we have snubbed allies, coddled enemies and conducted what amounts to a purge of our senior general officers. Political correctness and smothering rules of engagement have reduced combat effectiveness and put more of our personnel in peril.
Despite hundreds of billions in stimulus funding for “shovel-ready” projects, virtually nothing has been done to address our crumbling and aging infrastructure. Instead, those funds were used to reward supporters and pick winners and losers. Radically expanded regulation and increased taxes, along with the PPACA, have placed a drag on the economy and stopped recovery from a deep recession that was precipitated by the government in the first place. Regulatory compliance is now the greatest cost of doing business.
Notwithstanding promises to the contrary, the decimated American middle class is shrinking under the doppelganger of falling wages and increased taxation. Their children face record-high college tuition, driven by easy government loans and grants in much the same way that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac drove the housing bubble.
Increased Federal mandates have forced state and local government to raise revenues to historically high levels, squeezing taxpayers even more and redirecting what would have been discretionary consumer spending into government tax coffers. Despite record spending, unconstitutional central government intrusion into the states’ province of education has resulted in greater government control, lower student performance, predatory charter schools, higher compliance cost in the states and a national common core curriculum that no one outside Washington wanted.
Instead of protecting, supporting and encouraging individual freedoms and supporting an environment that encourages growth, success and individual achievement, central government is increasingly bleeding us dry and forcing more of us into government dependence, subservience and conformity.
Over two centuries ago, we saw an attempt of similar magnitude to consolidate government power in America. The culprit had a face and name: the Hanoverian King, George III of Great Britain.
We are again at a tipping point. This time, we face a much larger and insidious central government of our own making and, following the example of our founders and using the mechanisms they gave us, it is time to repudiate and starve the Washington leviathan while we still can.
(Wallace currently teaches on the graduate faculty at Muskingum University, is a senior fellow at the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia and has served as a chief state Medicaid officer and health care executive).