Out of Control

Article excerpt

BACK WHEN I WAS AN ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, I Was always amazed to hear faculty members complain that the United States was not more like Europe. They were enamored with the cradle-to-grave entitlements of the European welfare state.

Every society tries to find a balance between liberty and security. Europe has chosen to put more weight in security and subjects the individual to the needs of the collective. America is different. We value liberty highest, and this commitment to the individual is what makes America unique.

Our Founding Fathers designed a constitutional system based on the rule of law to protect the individual from an overbearing federal government. The government was to do only that which was both right and necessary; the rest was to be left up to the states and individuals.

An American's freedom is based on individual, God-given rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and also on economic liberties that allow us to provision our families and pursue our own happiness.

For more than 200 years, American citizens have used their personal and economic liberties to pursue their dreams and provide for their families. Along the way we built a prosperous nation. American wealth was not an accident but a direct result of our freedoms.

The relationship between the private sector and the government is similar to that of a jockey and horse. The winning combination is a strong and fast horse with a nimble and light jockey. In this case the horse is the private sector and the jockey is the government. When the jockey grows too large, and the horse is starved, eventually the horse will collapse under the weight of the jockey.

Advocates of big government do not understand this. They take our freedom and prosperity for granted. We now find this commitment to personal and economic liberty being challenged by the size of government. President Obama and Congress are looking to "Europeanize" the United States through a legislative stampede of government control: the nationalizing of our health care system, cap and trade energy taxes, and aggressive unionization. How can it be that the United States government now owns banks and auto companies?

Milton Friedman warned us that the true rate of taxation is government spending. …