Jewish World Review April 2, 2012/ 10 Nissan 5772
A wakeup call to a nation still sleeping through a crisis
By Star Parker
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What are the ramifications if the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate provision of the healthcare reform law unconstitutional? This provision requires individuals to purchase government-defined health insurance or pay a fine.
I hope it will serve as a wakeup call to a nation that I believe is still sleeping through a crisis.
Liberal and open-ended interpretation of the Constitution has rendered it practically meaningless, opening the door to steady growth of the federal government and its inexorable encroachment in our lives over the last half century. The problems we are having today all originate here.
Even if "Obamacare" is repealed, health care remains a major problem. Costs keep escalating because there is no real, functioning marketplace. Ninety percent of healthcare expenditures are made by third parties: government, employers, insurance companies. All due to direct or indirect government controls.
Our growing burden of taxes and government debt -- what now is breaking European countries and is about to break us -- stems from the growth of government programs, enabled by open-ended interpretation of the Constitution.
Our private economy, in which freedom and the creative spirit are still allowed to operate, is going great.
A miracle is taking place in energy, with new domestic production of oil and gas made possible by new drilling technologies.
Oil imports, as a percentage of our overall domestic oil consumption, have dropped almost 25 percent since 2005. In North Dakota, where much of this new oil production is happening, production has increased from 10,000 barrels a day in 2003 to 400,000 barrels a day.
Natural gas production has increased 26 percent since 2005, producing U.S. natural gas prices that are the lowest in the world. As a result, according to University of Michigan economist Mark J. Perry, firms that use natural gas -- like chemical and fertilizer businesses -- are actively talking about returning to the United States.
New technologies abound, with more and more gadgets appearing all the time at lower and lower prices.
Computer equipment that cost $1,000 in 1997 today would sell for about $65, Perry calculated.
So why are we turning over more and more of our lives to the most unproductive, least efficient part of our country: government?
Just over the last four years, government spending has increased to take 25 percent of the American economy from 20 percent.
The result is the most sluggish economic recovery since the Great Depression. It is a sign of the American people's depressed spirit that an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent is actually viewed as good news. This is almost two and half points higher than the average unemployment rate in our country from 1948 to 2010.
But while we suffer, Washington parties.
The unemployment rate in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is 5.7 percent. The District's 2.7 percent population growth last year was the highest in the nation, according to demographer Joel Kotkin.
He reports that the capital region's economy expanded 14 percent since 2007. Over the last decade, 50,000 new jobs in the federal government bureaucracy were created, and local federal spending increased by 166 percent.
No wonder in a recent Gallup poll, residents of greater Washington, D.C., expressed the highest level of confidence in the U.S. economy among the nation's largest metropolitan areas.
Isn't it time to turn this around? Why are Americans still tolerating this?
If we are going to get the nation back on track, we've got to get our resources out of Washington and back into the private sector where they can be used creatively and productively. This is how to create jobs.
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Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
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