January 22, 2014 by Anders Ingemarson
Since the botched launch of the healthcare initiative bearing his name, talk radio and TV, editorial pages and the blogosphere have been abuzz with predictions of the demise of our current president.
If history is an indicator, they’re wrong. When the kinks of the website have been worked out and most people have managed to enroll, when time has worked its therapeutic magic and the initial frustration has faded into memory, “ObamaCare” runs the risk of becoming like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—another program that most Americans consider a fact of life and that most politicians on either side of the aisle loathe to question the existence of, never mind proposing radical alternatives to.
As a result, Barack Obama will most likely take his place in the Pantheon of our four most successful presidents of the past 100 years as measured by their lasting legacy—the scope and staying power of the programs, institutions, and regulations signed into law during their presidency.
Who is included in this prominent POTUS quartet? Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and yes, Barack H. Obama.
Woodrow Wilson’s main claim to fame is the creation of the Federal Reserve, the introduction of the federal income tax (16th Amendment), and the establishment of direct elections of U.S. Senators by popular vote (17th Amendment), all instituted in 1913 and remaining to this day.
Franklin D. Roosevelt gets the nod for the 1930s programs initiated under the “New Deal” that are still with us, among them Social Security, the Wagner Act (pro labor union legislation), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Lyndon B. Johnson’s admission ticket is the “Great Society” which gave us Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, both of which are cornerstones of today’s welfare programs.
And finally Barack H. Obama, whose ramming through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2009 probably will guarantee him a place alongside the other three.
What do their achievements have in common? In one form or another, they directly or indirectly violate our individual rights. Each has taken us a step or two or more further down the slippery slope of limiting our rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness:
- The direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote weakened constitutional checks and balances, tilting the country towards democratic populism. As a result we’ve been increasingly subject to rights violations through majority rule, contributing to paving the way for many of the programs on this list.
- The Federal Reserve Act, among other things, violates the rights of banks and financial institutions to freely compete for borrowers and depositors by dictating interest rate levels. It has also exposed all of us to increased market volatility (booms and busts) that comes with concentrating financial policy decisions in a federal reserve system.
- SEC regulations, just as the Federal Reserve rules, violate the rights of banks and financial institutions to freely compete for private and corporate borrowers and depositors.
- The federal income tax violates the right to keep and dispose of the fruits of our labors.
- Social Security violates our rights to plan for old age by taxing us and our employers and using the proceeds to pay for other people’s retirement needs.
- Labor regulations violate the rights of employers to hire and fire as their business needs dictate, and the right of individuals to seek employment without the interference of labor unions.
- Finally, Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare violate our rights to choose the healthcare solutions that best suit us. It also violates the rights of doctors, health insurance providers, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies to conduct business without government interference.
Notice the complete absence of initiatives upholding and strengthening individual rights, and removing existing rights violations. It is no coincidence. The past 100 years have been an orgy in Statism, the political doctrine advocating the subjugation of the individual to the state, at the expense of its polar opposite, Individualism, which champions the rights of each of us to live our lives free of government coercion. Consequently, the Pantheon of most successful U.S. presidents during this time period reads as a Who Is Who of most successful statists.
It obviously doesn’t have to stay this way. But dethroning the statists will require a breed of presidents who champion Individualism, individual rights and Capitalism as moral ideals for a free society. Such presidents will only become a reality if we pave the way with our activism, expressing moral certainty in the virtues of Individualism. Furthermore, we have to show America the constructive individual rights respecting solutions that are possible as alternatives to today’s immoral rights violating government institutions, programs and regulations in every area of society—healthcare, retirement, education, banking & finance, energy & environment, food & agriculture, communications & transportation, commerce & employment, and so on.
One day, as a result of our efforts, the Pantheon of most successful U.S. presidents will read as a Who Is Who of most successful individualists. And Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Barack H. Obama will be relegated to the statist horror cabinet.