What's Next, Waiting in Gas Lines Again?
Conservatism seemed the -natural choice for allegiance as a result of Jimmy Carter's presidency. Mine was born out of frustration while I waited in lines that stretched out of the gas station and then ran bumper to bumper down the road.
Carter's weakness in the face of the OPEC oil embargo saw him attempt to ease our pain by fuel conservation and lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph. Being stalled out in a gas line or inching down a highway became symbolic of this liberal's presidency.
By the time the peanut farmer was sent back to Georgia by Ronald Reagan, he had brought this country to near economic and psychological ruin. We had double-digit unemployment, high taxes and an anemic foreign policy.
A failed rescue attempt of hostages held in Iran, in which our helicopters crashed in the desert, brought home a blinding psychological reality to the American people. We had sunk to a new low. The era is known as the Carter "malaise." The greatest nation in the world became one with a "can't do" attitude.
As Reagan haltingly repaired the damage, Carter maintained an arrogance that admitted no failings. Instead, he travels the world speechifying to other liberals and progressives about the failures of his Republican successors. Silence by Democrats at this blatant breach of presidential etiquette has been deafening - but typical of a party that eschews integrity to hold onto the reins of power.
Carter's liberal policies are being reincarnated and seriously threaten the nation's ability to rise out of recession. President Obama's allegiance to Keynesian economic principles of increased government spending and higher taxes on the rich might well put us back into recession, or worse.
Businesses are scared to hire because of the uncertainty. New and strident regulations threaten to further stifle free-market principles. The $862 billion stimulus -package failed. The deficit soars. Unemployment holds steady at just under 10 percent.
Housing and development languishes with foreclosures rising again last month. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are artificially propped up once again to make home ownership possible for those who cannot possibly afford to own a home.
The stock market reels. The -dollar falls against other currencies because of trade imbalances. Plans are laid to let the Bush tax cuts lapse and usher in higher capital gains and estate taxes on the affluent.
At the end of the day, less fortunate or jobless Americans, those Obama would redistribute wealth to - wealth created off the backs of other Americans - are no more employed or better off than they were when he won the presidency.
England, Canada, France and Germany flee from the failures of big centralized and meddlesome governments while America appears poised to stupidly attempt the same failures. How many big government socialist architectures have to fail in this world before liberals and other progressives realize that the Utopian dream of rich political elites evenly distributing wealth is just that - a dream that fails - over and over and over again?
Ronald Reagan had one particular strength that enabled him to put this country back on track after the Carter "malaise" years: He believed America was more important than his presidency.
He understood that the American experiment was something so unique in its freedoms and liberties that only by allowing those principles freer rein, coupled with a limited federal government that stayed out of the way of private entrepreneurial spirit, would we as a nation repair the damage. In essence, Reagan let America fix itself.
We're not designed for high taxes, overly burdensome federal regulations and massive government agencies that insinuate their way into every aspect of our lives. And we elect presidents to represent America - not change it. We're not a mass of hungry and poor who need to be dictated to by bombastic politicians whose egos are larger than their capabilities.
Recessions are expected in capitalist societies at relatively normal intervals. Regulations are needed for those who cheat and steal.
Republicans can be big spenders too. But when more American -voters realize that government does not and cannot create jobs, and that when a recession hits, we shouldn't attempt recovery by -trying to reinvent ourselves along failed liberal, progressive and socialist models, we'll recover more easily and fluidly.
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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