Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama's Cold Awakening

President Obama and his friends on the left are suddenly finding out that mass consolidation of power is no easy task in a country where its leaders still rule by the just consent of the governed. So far, the President has had to backpedal on several issues, and has even come to part with his own party on some issues.

For starters, the Department of Defense backtracked on an attempt to curtail ammunition by tightening restrictions on recycled brass.

The President's pick for Attorney-General made good on his intent to reintroduce the phony "assault weapons ban" and found opposition from 65 House Democrats and some in the Senate.

Then the President was contemplating charging veterans for their own healthcare. Public outcry forced a U-turn on that move as well.

The President may not even have Democrats on his side for his budget

This bonus fracas is another example, but slightly different. The President and rank Democrats feigned outrage when they claimed to just be finding out that bailed out banking institution AIG was issuing large bonuses to their executives. This orchestrated fury despite explicit language that allowed unrestricted bonuses. But now, even more truths coming to light are making this administration look bad. Michelle Malkin notes that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner reported the bonuses to Congress long before they claimed to.

Senator Chris Dodd, the architect of the bonus protection clause, now states that officials in the Obama administration specifically asked that provision to go in!

Despite all this, rank Democrats have cobbled together a bill that would tax the bonuses away from the executives.

There's a slight problem with this. Actually, a HUGE problem with this, and it's likely the reason why the president asked the bonus protection to remain in there. By creating outrage, the president and Congress can have public support to tax away the bonus money from these "greedy" executives. The unsuspecting public cannot help but agree that the pilots of a bank that had to come calling for public assistance don't deserve millions of dollars in bonuses. The problem is that this sets up even more power for the government.

In the rush to demand government do the "right thing", there's a little technicality that most people overlook - to the delight of politicians. It's the question of whether or not the power was ever the government's to begin with. People lack the long-term vision to see that if you give the government the power to do the "right" thing (TAX those bonuses away from those abominable fat cats and give them to starving children on the street - and make haste!) that they forget they've just given the government the discretionary power of arbitrary taxation of private individuals. That, my friends, is a power far too great for any government to wield. Oh, it may not be Barack Obama. But ten, twelve, fifteen years down the road, we install a more radical president who has other plans about the direction this country should go. Yet he has the tools of vast power granted him by precedent because the American people agreed with Obama that the "right" thing needed to be done.

I am reminded of the "First they came" poem, and with your permission, will adapt it to this situation:

First, they taxed away the bloated paychecks of corporate executives. I said nothing - I was not an executive.

Then they came after rich investors, but I said nothing, because I was not a rich investor.

Next they taxed the comfortable salaries of doctors and lawyers. I was neither, so I said nothing.

When they decided to tax me...there was no one else left to speak out for me.

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