To paraphrase the late German pastor Martin Niemoller, who will be left to speak up when the central government comes for you?
Our own central government is inexorably coming for us, dividing us group by group, and will continue to do so until someone speaks up. State and local governments are not far behind.
Government revenues are at historic highs at all levels and continue to grow, yet there is never enough tax money to satiate the leviathan. The 175 government taxes and fees divert our money from the chosen uses of producers for redistribution to others and have less and less to do with the common good and more with financing the power plays of the elites in government.
They have come for the hearts and minds of our children by using our own tax money to coerce public schools into adopting the Common Core Curriculum. Those who do not cooperate will not only have federal money withheld, but suffer the punishment of school closings through selective application of No Child Left Behind punishments. Those who cooperate are offered waivers on the sole authority of the secretary of education, though the law does not grant him that authority.
They have come for those on Medicare by taking more than $500 million to redistribute elsewhere in the Affordable Care Act, to go with its plethora of new and additional taxes. Seniors will soon find it much more difficult to get everything from cataract surgery to joint replacement unless they have the means to pay for it themselves. All of our medical and financial information is now consolidated for review by the central government and the corrupt IRS has been made the bully-boy enforcer for a program that is not only unaffordable, but is premised on providing less care and choice. Though there are no provisions in the law to allow it, about 1,500 politically connected organizations and companies have been given waivers from the onerous ACA.
They have come for your energy supply by moving to eliminate low-cost hydrocarbon fuels, creating shortages and regulating producers out of business. As a result, our automobile and heating fuel prices have doubled, food prices are twice as high and we refuse to allow ourselves to be energy independent despite having some of the largest energy reserves on the planet. Energy policy is driven by politics and ideology rather than observed empirical evidence as we cling to the mistaken notion that human activity is altering the planetary climate for the worse.
The war on coal energy has not only driven up electricity prices, but is forcing industry out of business. The Ormet aluminum plant is one of the most recent victims. The irony is that less industrial utilization of electricity will drive up all of our monthly bills as utilities will raise household rates to offset the loss of industrial customer revenues. Even worse, 16 coal-fired plants that could have been supplying Ormet with low-cost power were closed in Ohio last year alone. Dozens more went cold across the nation; most conveniently sited near coal supplies.
Not only is there a war on coal by our central government and its controlled-entity agencies, but it is clear that natural gas is in the crosshairs, as illustrated by the recent nomination (and fortunate withdrawal) of the radical, Ron Binz to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency. His avowed goal was to end natural gas utilization by 2050.
And let us not forget the ongoing ethanol debacle. Our central government requires a 10 percent ethanol blend in gasoline, despite its negative impact on energy use; it takes more energy to produce that it can ever save.
A proposed disastrous increase to a 15 percent blend was only barely averted. We are still unnecessarily using nearly half our corn crop for this debacle and there is no end in sight.
They have come for the already shrinking American middle class by limiting economic development and opportunity, slowing economic growth, raising taxes and assuring that most new jobs are low-wage or less than full time. The doppelganger of easy student loans and a lack of jobs has produced a generation of young people mired in debt that cannot even be erased by bankruptcy. Folded into the ACA and taken over by the central government, the program has been turned over to more than 100 collection organizations with the power to unilaterally amend repayment schedules, or cancel debts for the politically favored.
We have a growing $17 trillion debt and at least another $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities and we continue to lose economic ground every day. I don't know where all this will end, but economists always remind us that if things cannot go on like this forever, they won't.
Perhaps one indicator occurred in Washington, D.C., recently when several dozen of our nation's greatest and toughest generation were shut out of the World War II memorial. With actions that spoke more loudly than words, they simply brushed aside the barricades - and all the central government nonsense they symbolized - and went on with their planned mission.
Maybe that same generation that gave so much and righted an out-of-kilter world so many years ago will again be the ones to speak up for us and once more lead us back onto the path of rational national values, prosperity and opportunity for the next generation.
They stood for us then; it's our turn now.
(Wallace is a senior fellow at the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia teaches in the graduate school at Muskingum University and is a member of the board of the West Virginia Access Center for Higher Education.)