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COMMUNITY VOICE

There may be struggles the next four years, but the country will be all right

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 12:01 am

As America tumbles into the abyss of socialism, we try to look ahead to see what awaits us there. And we must face it — a majority of Americans have chosen to have a socialist form of government.

Barack Obama made that clear both before and during the recent election campaign. When he said he intends to “transform America,” he told us just what he meant. And he justifies it as “redistribution of the wealth” and “fairness.”

We are already well on our way with regard to health care. The president himself has indicated that Obamacare is simply the first step in achieving a national health service. That is coming. Most Democrats are openly eager for it. Many of them, reading this article, will be nodding their heads and thinking to themselves that it is an advancement. After all, how can anyone not be in favor of medical care for all? We shall see.

Under socialism, health services are provided by the government, but they tend to be rationed, and the quality of care tends to decline. Many people will pay to have “private pay insurance” in order to avoid the bureaucracy and incompetence of government health care, unless the government declares such insurance to be illegal (as it did until recently in Canada, for example).

The socialists will probably next set their sights on the energy sector of the economy. The president is not the only Democrat who would like to nationalize the oil industry. Maxine Waters, from California’s 25th District, said to an oil company executive during a committee hearing that she would support socializing the industry, and “taking over, and the government running, all of your companies.” For liberals of this persuasion, there are no “profits,” only “obscene profits.”

In addition to oil, a socialist government can be expected to attempt seizure of the providers of electricity. Environmentalism is a handy excuse. The president has already started his “war on coal,” and to great effect. The Keystone Pipeline project was squelched as an appeasement to environmental extremists. Government red tape and legal obstructions make it nearly impossible to develop nuclear power plants. Electric companies today are being forced to subsidize inefficient windmill farms and solar-panel schemes, none of which would be financially viable without government-enforced subsidies, paid, eventually, by all of the ratepayers. This will get worse.

Financial difficulties, power shortages and blackouts will inevitably occur, and these will be held up as proof the government must step in and take over the electric companies to solve the problems. The situation will almost certainly deteriorate, once the government is responsible for operating these companies. Of all of the electricity providers that were hit by Hurricane Sandy, only one, Long Island Power Authority, is presently government-owned. Many of its customers were without power for weeks after power had been restored by the privately owned companies.

Another target for socialist takeover will likely be the financial sector. Obama has made “Wall Street” a regular whipping boy and has excoriated bankers, often blaming them for the inadequacy of his own economic policies. The federal debt is beyond redemption at this time, more than $16 trillion, or $216,000 for every citizen under the age of 18. It cannot be paid unless the government decides to print money, with the attendant destructive inflation to follow.

High unemployment and economic malaise is likely to continue in the next four years. Again, the socialists will be unwilling to blame the government itself (President Obama has yet to accept the blame for anything), but will insist that the government alone can solve the problems — by taking over the banking system.

A byproduct of socialism will be a decline in America’s national security. This is simply an economic fact of life. The federal government cannot undertake to own or manage our huge economy, provide all of the so-called “entitlements,” service the national debt and still provide adequately for the national defense.

A dedicated American socialist, however, is perfectly willing to see our defense budget slashed. Some liberals want that done simply because they disagree with the notion that America should be a strong country. Countries in Europe that have been able to tolerate socialism do so because they have not needed to have a defense budget. In reality, they have relied upon the United States as their line of defense. But America cannot afford that luxury.

As a socialist government becomes stronger and controls more and more of the economy, there is a danger that it will also become authoritarian in order to keep power in the face of public unrest. This happened in the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany (the full name of the Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party). It is happening now in Venezuela. Such a development seems unthinkable here, and I certainly am not predicting it. But there are troubling signs.

The president has shown a willingness to abuse his office by appointing “czars” responsible to no one but himself and putting them in charge of important areas of the economy. He has issued a startling number of executive orders, putting in place policies that Congress has refused to enact by legislation. And he has been willing to use the power of the Justice Department for political ends, such as blocking implementation of voter-identification laws.

Despite all of this, I am hopeful. For one thing, it seems very unlikely that Obama can accomplish so much damage in the four years left to him and, thankfully, the Constitution does prevent him from running again. By then, the political winds may have shifted. In the meantime, he will face resistance from the House of Representatives. And, perhaps, from the courts.

Besides, I still have faith in Americans. After the election, on Veterans Day, I attended a church service. During the procession, two soldiers in uniform brought the American flag down the aisle, and the congregation sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance (we included the phrase “under God”). At the end of the service, we sang “America the Beautiful,” as the choir recessed.

Well, I thought to myself, there may be struggles, but this country is going to be all right. It just has to be.

Howard Chapman is a resident of Fort Wayne.