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What Does the Government Control? More of Almost Everything

Moving into the less quantifiable but still obvious, who can doubt that the entire financial sector is virtually under the thumb of the government? What else would you call it when the country's treasury secretary can pull bank CEOs into a meeting and figuratively "put a gun to their heads," thereby forcing them to "accept" government investment regardless of whether they wanted or needed it? This sad turning point in capitalism occurred even before the current administration took charge, shortly after the elites of both parties defied overwhelming public opposition to pass the October 2008 financial bailout bill.

If what is being called "financial reform" in Washington becomes law, there will no longer be any real doubt as to who controls financial services. The owners of supposedly private financial institutions will live in 24-7 fear that the bill's new "Financial Services Oversight Council" will unilaterally fabricate a reason to take them over. The legislation's authors have deliberately drafted it to give the council's victims no meaningful legal recourse. The SEIU's "purple people beaters" will then be able to move on to other targets, as their "services" in the cause of intimidating bankers with illegal, police-escorted "protests" will no longer be necessary.

On the horizon, barring repeal, there's ObamaCare, the de facto government takeover of the health care sector's one-sixth of the economy. Beyond that, if it becomes law, there's the intense government micromanagement inherent in cap and trade. If both of these aren't stopped, we will soon be in a place where no one attempting to do anything productive will be able to ply his or her trade without the government dictating the terms under which he or she can do business.

It's not only about business; it's also about day-to-day life. It may not even matter if cap and trade is stopped, as the government's Environmental Protection Agency sees its court-sanctioned authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant as carte blanche to impose lifestyle-affecting mandates on everyone in every energy-consuming decision, personal or professional.

With intrusion comes confiscation. What they can't confiscate, they pass on to future generations, unless the Federal Reserve chooses to inflate its way out of the problem -- an action I would not rule out.

Last Wednesday, President Obama's "bipartisan fiscal commission" informed the White House and Congress -- as if it was news -- that the nation's debt load is near a growth-stifling 90% of gross domestic product. They're not listening. Intense lobbying has apparently begun for yet another bailout, this time of financially insolvent multi-employer (read: union) pension plans.

Stopping and reversing the statist steamroller will take a lot more than voting in November 2010. It will require a level of consistent engagement and activism by the sensible, constitutional center-right never previously seen in American history. Whether we're up to it is an open question.