Originally published at RegularFolksUnited.com
I was stunned to speechlessness this weekend when I heard of General Motors chairman Rick Wagoner's forced resignation at the behest of President Obama. A friend aptly described it as "crossing the Rubicon." With that action and his subsequent directives against GM and Chrysler, President Obama has formally declared war on the American social and political model intricately designed and implemented by our Founding Fathers to be more respectful of the inherent order of the universe than any nation that preceded it.
Consider for a moment the existence of three spheres in society - private enterprise, private charity and government. Each has core responsibilities and, if the people and institutions within each fulfills their assigned duties and each interacts responsibly with the other, there is order and harmony.
Free enterprise honors the dignity of honest labor and individuals reaping the benefits of their work by earning wealth and using it as they see fit. The main mission of private enterprise is the generation and possession of wealth by free people.
Private charity exists to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our communities. Churches, non-profit organizations and individuals comprise a philanthropic marketplace committed to helping others. They are our neighbors, they know us personally and care about us, and they are directly accountable to us and the donors who support them. They are the first ones in when calamity strikes and they stay behind long after the authorities have moved on. They are the "little platoons" whose main mission is compassion and care.
That leaves us with government. If there is one consistent theme in the writings of the Founding Fathers, it's their inherent mistrust of government. They designed government to be limited in scope primarily to minimize its impact on the people and leave them free to chart their own paths. The federal government's functions are clearly delineated in the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights was enacted primarily to provide yet another buffer against government infringement on individual liberty. Thomas Jefferson said:
"The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government."
Government, therefore, ensures the conditions under which a free people can exercise their liberty. Beyond national security, public safety, public infrastructure and the administration of justice, government, especially at the national level, is obligated to step aside. The main mission of government is to maintain a safe, secure, and just environment in which people can be free.
The interaction between these spheres is designed to be supportive of their respective duties.
Private enterprise and private charity support the government's responsibility for maintaining order and justice by exercising responsible citizenship.
A portion of the wealth generated by private enterprise supports private charity and government through voluntary contributions and taxation respectively.
Private charity alleviates government of the burden of citizen care and secures for private enterprise a content and productive workforce.
Government enacts only the amount of regulation required to ensure a fair and equitable workplace and protect the public interest, and crafts the tax code to encourage savings and investment by private enterprise and corporate and individual donations to private charity.
If you don't recognize the model I've just described, you're very observant.
The Founding Fathers understood the structural framework that would bring the most security, freedom and prosperity to our nation - "a more perfect union" - and codified it in our Constitution.
President Obama sees the Constitution, however, as reflecting a "fundamental flaw" against the redistribution of wealth and lacking empathy for "previously dispossessed people."
His vision has government crafting industrial policy, dictating executive compensation, and boosting taxes and oversight on businesses and high-income Americans, greatly constricting private enterprise's ability to create wealth.
He envisions a paid corps of workers controlled and directed by the government to perform tasks normally under the purview of private charity. Moreover, he proposes to tax a portion of charitable giving for the first time, affecting 56% of all funds received by private charity and potentially crippling that sphere altogether.
He is redirecting record amounts of our wealth to government programs which will insert themselves aggressively into areas ostensibly reserved for private enterprise and private charity, even as they struggle to perform the duties that are rightfully theirs.
His policies are deliberately designed to use government as an instrument of redemption for America's past sins and in order to assign that role to government, he must undermine private enterprise and private charity. His deliberate destruction of the order and harmony of America's social and political model can only lead to chaos, and the speed and brazenness of his actions leaves me - well, speechless.