Americans need a history lesson - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Americans need a history lesson

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Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 3:30 am | Updated: 1:13 pm, Mon Jul 12, 2010.

“President Barack Obama has no intention of growing the U.S. economy; he simply wants to control it.”

Do those seem like controversial words to you?

In March of 2009, I penned a column in the East Valley Tribune that began with that statement. At the time I lived in Gilbert, and people were stopping me in public and chastising me for being “rude” and “judgmental” with our new president.

I’ve hosted highly opinionated and at times controversial talk radio in this community for 11 years. Yet, never before publishing that particular column had I experienced people confronting me around town and expressing disdain for my words.

I even got an angry earful from another parent at one of my son’s soccer games. As far as the outraged mom was concerned, my “condemnation” of Obama had “racist overtones” (my editorial made no references to anybody’s ethnicity).

Today, Americans might still disagree about the president’s true intentions. But it is undeniable that, after roughly 18 months of the Obama presidency, the United States economy is sustaining very little growth (if any), yet the amount of control over private business affairs and economic resources that is possessed by the executive branch of our government has increased dramatically.

We just celebrated our nation’s “Independence Day.” But we are increasingly dependent on the preferences and choices of Obama for our livelihoods, increasingly dependent on the whims of government bureaucrats for our personal well-being, and dependent on the overtures of foreign nations (China in particular) for sustaining our economy and infrastructure.

If America is ever to stop the Obama dependency cycle and move again in the direction of freedom, we must — we MUST — begin thinking more clearly about economics, and the proper role of government in our lives.

If “thinking about economics” seems boring to you, try thinking of some basic questions about fairness, and about what is right and wrong.

For example, should Americans be free to achieve and to be as successful as they wish to be, without the threat of their government publicly maligning them, setting limits on their achievement, and taking away ever-expanding proportions of their spoils? Should American individuals and businesses ever be permitted to fail? Or, should our government spend our tax dollars rescuing and bailing out people and companies who get themselves into trouble? Is it the proper role of government to, as Obama likes to say, “level the playing field” — taking wealth away from people whom politicians and bureaucrats believe have enough, or perhaps too much, and giving it to people whom politicians and bureaucrats believe are deserving of more?

Obama’s policies pose significant challenges to all of these “fairness” and “right and wrong” matters. And history — both American history, and the history of the world — tells us that nations do not prosper when governments attempt to help the poor by punishing the wealthy, or try to prevent people from succeeding “too greatly” or from “failing too badly.”

Will America embrace the lessons of history, and regain a sense of independence? Or is it more important to yield to the wishes of Barack Obama?

Austin Hill ( is author of “The Virtues of Capitalism” and a frequent guest host for Arizona’s Newstalk KTAR (92.3 FM).

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