- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OPINION/ANALYSIS:

In November, Americans voted for “change” by electing Barack Obama president and by giving the Democratic Party solid majorities in the House and the Senate. Did voters realize that change included government ownership of the means of production? Did voters realize that change included a naive approach to foreign policy that may lead to disastrous conflicts in East Asia and the Middle East?

Welcome to the United Socialist States of America. Since Jan. 20, the United States has taken a number of unquestionable steps toward socialism.

Using Troubled Asset Relief Program money from the Bush administration, the government now owns a direct and an indirect equity interest in a number of major financial institutions including Citibank, Bank of America and American International Group.

For the first time ever, the U.S. government will now own a major equity interest in major manufacturing companies - General Motors and Chrysler. As we write, the administration and certain members of Congress are trying to figure out how the government will manage to have a one-payer (i.e. government-controlled) universal health care system by the end of the year.

The costs of these actions are huge.

TARP has cost the American taxpayers $750 billion. The liberal politicians and media are keeping mum on the potential cost of universal health care, but we know it will not be inexpensive. Total health care today accounts for about 17 percent of the gross domestic product; if the government subsidizes it and makes it universally available, it can only be more expensive. As of today, the taxpayers’ share of the bankruptcy and bailout cost of Detroit is approximately $70 billion - about $300,000 per GM and Chrysler employee.

It would have been better for the economy and the taxpayers if the government had let GM and Chrysler go bankrupt without a bailout and written a $100,000 check to every employee and called it unemployment. And the cost of this government investment is not over.

Do you think that the government will let GM and Chrysler fail if they are unable to sell cars? Are the legislators on Capitol Hill going to decide the kind of cars Detroit should build? What will happen if American consumers will not buy green automobiles that the government geniuses think we should drive? Will there be laws and regulations that force Americans to buy these cars? Or will Congress merely revert to taxpayer-financed incentives for Americans to buy these cars? For a good look at the future of state-owned automobile companies, look at those in the Soviet Union, China and India prior to reform.

The justifiable concern about the economic crisis may be providing a smoke screen for a dangerous turn of events that will make the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan look like a playground brawl. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from World War II is that appeasement does not work. Up to now, the U.S. policy in North Korea and Iran is to ignore threats and hope they go away. In the words of George Santayana, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

North Korea is testing intercontinental missiles and nuclear weapons. It now has the ability to send nuclear warheads to South Korea, Japan and, arguably, Alaska. It is rattling its sabers by threatening the U.S. and the international community with military action against South Korea if the U.S. and the international community attempt to interfere with its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, North Korea is playing diplomatic hardball with the United Nations over sanctions. It recently disavowed the Armistice Agreement ending the Korean War. South Korea has put its military on high alert. The U.S. military is monitoring the situation. But the U.S. and its allies have yet to make a credible response to North Korean threats.

The situation in the Middle East is about to reach a tipping point. In May, Iran launched a missile capable of striking Israel. In defiance of U.N. resolutions and sanctions, Iran has been pursuing the capability to make a nuclear bomb for years. It is not unreasonable to infer that if Iran, under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had that capability, it would destroy Israel.

In a “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad said that Israel is a “disgraceful stain [on] the Islamic world,” that needed to be “wiped from the pages of history.” If an avowed enemy is reaching for a gun to shoot you, do you wait for him to pull the trigger before defending yourself? This is the situation that confronts Israel. Is it naive of Mr. Obama to request that Israel not make a pre-emptive strike in defense of itself?

In April, a Rasmussen Reports poll indicated that a third of Americans under 30 thought that socialism was preferable to capitalism, compared with 35 percent who thought that capitalism was preferable. Based on the actions of the Obama administration and Congress over the past five months, these naive young Americans may get their wish - a socialist America.

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