Poll: By 2-to-1, Americans Fear Second Obama Term – Center for Individual Freedom.

Poll: By 2-to-1, Americans Fear Second Obama Term Center for Individual Freedom..

If the Obama Administration already behaves as lawlessly as we are witnessing despite the tempering prospect of an electoral performance review this November, what degree of unbound malevolence might a second term bring? 

As 2012 begins, three events this week brought that question into particular relief. 

First, the United States fell another spot in the latest worldwide Index of Economic Freedom.  That marks the fourth consecutive year of decline, which cannot be dismissed as coincidental.  During the past four years, the U.S. has also suffered the ignominious downgrade from a “Free” designation to “Mostly Free.” 

Welcome to the Age of Obama. 

The chief culprit, according to the Index, is the sheer growth of spending and government regulation

“Rapid expansion of government, more than any market factor, appears to be responsible for flagging economic dynamism.  Government spending has not only failed to arrest the economic crisis, but also – in many countries – seems to be prolonging it.  The big-government approach has led to bloated public debt, turning an economic slowdown into a fiscal crisis with economic stagnation fueling long-term unemployment.” 

Ominously, the Index notes that spending and regulatory growth have cultivated an even more destructive byproduct – corruption: 

“The U.S. score on the Index’s Freedom from Corruption indicator has dropped to 71.0 in 2012 from 76.0 in 2007.  That’s not surprising, given the administration’s excessive regulatory zeal.  Each new edict means a new government bureaucracy that individuals and businesses must navigate.  Each new law opens the door for political graft and cronyism.” 

In the Asia-Pacific region, by contrast, economic freedom has continued to rise and it now claims the four freest economies (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand).  How will America respond? 

A second notable event this week was the Supreme Court’s harsh – and unanimous – rejection of Obama Administration policy.  The First Amendment issue presented by the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC was whether the federal government can, in the Court’s words, “interfere with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs.”  Eager to lasso yet another realm of American life into its regulatory ambit, the Obama Justice Department sought to erode the distinction between churches and regular businesses.  It argued that the government could dictate how churches designated “ministers” and micromanage how religious groups determined who would carry out their missions. 

The Wall Street Journal labeled this decision “among the most important religious liberty cases in half a century.”  The fact that even the Court’s reliable liberals rebuked the Obama Administration vividly illustrates its flagrant Constitutional disregard. 

A third event of particular note this week came in the form of a public opinion survey.  By more than a two-to-one margin, respondents stated that their greatest fear is four more years of Obama versus the alternative.  Trailing close behind an Obama reelection, respondents listed increased taxes as their greatest fear.  Americans over age 65, who tend to vote in higher proportions than younger counterparts, expressed pronounced fear of a second Obama term, so expect more dishonest “granny shoved over the cliff” commercials to frighten them into line this election season. 

Three years ago, Obama told NBC that, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then it’s going to be a one-term proposition.”  Since then, unemployment has risen, inflation has risen, poverty has risen, spending has risen, the deficit has risen and gasoline prices have risen.  Meanwhile, economic freedom has deteriorated while federal regulations have been heaped upon America’s employers. 

All that occurred while Obama faced the prospect of electoral rejection at the end of his first term.  Now Americans are shifting their thoughts to how his administration would conduct itself in the absence of such restraint, and they apparently don’t relish the possibility.

Government Makes Us Poor – John Stossel – Townhall Conservative

Government Makes Us Poor – John Stossel – Townhall Conservative.

Here’s my fantasy: Libertarians are elected to the presidency and to majorities in Congress. What would happen next? Well, if libertarians were “in charge,” you’d have more freedom and prosperity.

Freedom frightens some people. They say if no one is in charge there would be chaos. That is intuitive, but think about a skating rink. Before rinks were invented, if you proposed an amusement in which people strap blades to their feet and skate around on ice at whatever speeds they wish, you’d have been called crazy. There’s got to be speed limits, stoplights, turn signals. But we know that people navigate rinks safely on their own. They create their own order, with only minimal rules.

Society would work the same way — and does to a large extent even today. “Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government,” Thomas Paine, the soul of the American Revolution, wrote. “It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. … Common interest (has) a greater influence than the laws of government.”

If libertarians were “in charge,” there would be laws to protect us from foreign enemies and those who would steal from us or injure us. Today, by contrast, under the rule of Democans and Republicrats, we’re drowning in rules — 160,000 pages’ worth. Micromanagement kills opportunity and freedom.

Maybe if there were a way to have more competition among governments, things would be better. Competition forces people to become more efficient and to get rid of stupid rules. What if we let people take over some unused land in America to create areas with fewer rules, simpler legal systems, smaller government?

I explored that subject last week with Michael Strong and Magatte Wade, founders of the Free Cities Project.

Strong said, “We want to encourage thousands of people to create new governments that have different rules, each competing for customers with the best education and best health care, the most peace and prosperity you could imagine.”

Of course, state governments would have to approve this.

“There are already Native American reservations in the U.S. … They can become more free. Honduras already has something like this. In Senegal, we’re encouraging a move toward an autonomous city-state that would allow for peace and prosperity.”

Wade is Strong’s wife and an entrepreneur from Senegal, where she saw firsthand how bad rules prevent people from creating prosperity.

“We need jobs. Who creates jobs? Entrepreneurs,” she said.

But Senegal is awash in rules. There was a government monopoly on cement. When the government allowed competition, prices fell by a third.

She started a beverage company.

“It was an ordeal. I did it because I am from Senegal. I have an interest in trying to improve things. But for an American company … why would they put themselves through such a thing?”

“What people don’t realize is the developing world is massively overregulated,” Strong said. “Africa is the most regulated continent on earth.”

In the Congo, it requires 18 documents to import anything.

Wade added: “The fact we have so many rules — who benefits most? Multinationals.”

“And crony capitalists,” Strong added. “Corruption in Africa is a symptom of massive overregulation.”

Are there any free cities along the lines Strong and Wade envision?

Hong Kong and Singapore are the best examples,” Strong said. “Now they are among the wealthiest places on earth.”

And there is a free city in Dubai because the emirate wanted to create a financial sector, but sharia law prevented it.

“Dubai was brilliant,” Strong said. “They looked around the world. They saw that Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Chicago, Sydney, London all ran British common law. British common law is much better for commerce than is French common law or sharia law. So they took 110 acres of Dubai soil, put British common law with a British judge in charge, and they went from an empty piece of soil to the 16th most powerful financial center in world in eight years.”

It’s what libertarians have said: Freedom works, and government, when it grows beyond the barest minimum, keeps people poor.