Down the Road to…
What H.L. Mencken wrote more than 80 years ago should be flowing from the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post and, of course, his own Baltimore Sun today. In 1926, Henry Louis Mencken, then a 46-year-old Baltimore native, wrote:
“The American State has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a state religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But the state still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious, and decent men.”
The gross, forced intrusion of the federal government – or American state – has now nationalized a great portion of the auto, banking and financial industries affecting every American. It has the president making personnel decisions for the automakers. It is micromanaging every aspect of management’s every move. The state has its hooks in every financial institution that received a dollar from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
The nationalization of the financial institutions continues, not because they can’t pay back the funds, but rather because the state is dictating that these institutions can’t simply pay off their TARP debts, they must clear ever taller regulatory hurdles prior to becoming a privately run enterprise again. Make no mistake, a vast majority of our financial industry is controlled by the federal government and will continue to be so.
The automobile industry, General Motors and Chrysler in particular, has agreed to sell its soul to the state to survive. Neither of the two auto giants avoided bankruptcy, even after they were deluged with an unprecedented amount of future taxpayer dollars. The automakers should have gone through bankruptcy proceedings when there was a realization that they wouldn’t make it. The winners in this disaster were – the UAW; the Losers – everyone else.
If it wasn’t enough to fill their cavernous coffers and bankrupt our children, these state-controlled companies have decided to close down independent dealerships in what is starting to look like political payback. It seems that there are a coincidentally high percentage of Chrysler dealerships remaining open that financially supported the president leading up to election, and the closing of dealerships that supported his primary opponents, John McCain, in the general election.
No matter the industry, the state as a 1% stakeholder can control 100% of a corporation’s decisions.
Other industries are on the state’s target list. Now the state wants to “insert its thumb into another pot” – that of the world’s most advanced and available healthcare system. The state looks to eliminate the number of “uninsured” members of society with regards to the health system by offering a state-run plan as an alternative plan to current plans. This plan will allow those who currently don’t have coverage, including the healthy who opt out, and those immigrants who are here illegally to be covered by a state-run plan.
The proponents of this plan may dispute the fact that illegal immigrants would be covered; however, the fact remains that in any assessment of those who are uninsured in the United States, a large percentage are illegal aliens.
Even if we covered only legal residents of the United States, the strong hand of the state would begin to dictate what services will be provided, when they would be provided and at what cost. The level of care would eventually drop, not due to the efforts of those working within the system but by those – as Mr. Mencken calls them – the “superior caste.”
As Mr. Mencken also points out, the powers of the state will penetrate every act of the citizen. These words were written as socialism swept across Europe. He warned of the excesses of the state and the power that unelected officials would wield.
The power of the state must be held in check, or we will slowly suffocate under the yoke of socialism.