Free enterprise vs. government control - a new Culture War

This is a very perceptive piece in the Washington Post by Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute. In it, he postulates that the cultural issues of the 1990's - "guns, gays, or abortion - have been eclipsed by the overriding issue of free markets vs. control by the state:

Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country's future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise -- limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.

It is not at all clear which side will prevail. The forces of big government are entrenched and enjoy the full arsenal of the administration's money and influence. Our leaders in Washington, aided by the unprecedented economic crisis of recent years and the panic it induced, have seized the moment to introduce breathtaking expansions of state power in huge swaths of the economy, from the health-care takeover to the financial regulatory bill that the Senate approved Thursday. If these forces continue to prevail, America will cease to be a free enterprise nation.

I'm afraid Mr. Brooks has it right. As long as Barack Obama is president, his efforts to "remake America" will proceed apace. Even if Republicans take back Congress in the fall, this president has shown a predilection to bypass the legislature and issue executive orders that accomplish the same goal.

From EPA regulations making CO2 a poison, to empowering the SEC, to enjoining the FEC to crack down on free speech, the president's ability to ignore Congress and impose his agenda on America will be near impossible to stop as long as he has the veto to prevent Congress from standing in his way.

Read Mr. Brook's entire piece. It will certainly make you think about what is really at stake.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky