October 22, 2021

Lang: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’ ~ Pogo Possum

By Mike Lang, guest columnist

In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed an arguably unconstitutional law giving the U.S. President authority to regulate prices and wages. This renewed the situation we saw during the Great Depression of the 1930s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat.

In his vain efforts to lift the nation out of the Depression, Roosevelt did many things unconstitutionally. This included controls on both prices and production. He and his predecessor, President Hoover, a Republican, managed to mess up the entire economy. They were unable to bail us out of the Depression. It was not until the advent of World War II that there were enough jobs to create full employment.

Of course, during World War II there was no such thing as a “free market.” Government control over jobs, production, prices and our entire economy was nearly complete during the war.

After the war, government controls were reduced and, in many cases, eliminated. Our economy rebounded and it seemed that things were back to normal. Jobs were plentiful, everyone had money. Goods and services were in abundance. I can remember the “Fabulous Fifties” and the “Soaring Sixties.”

Our government officials, both elected and appointed, however, remembered how nice it was when they did not have to follow the “silly old Constitution” that severely restricted what they could do “for the people.” Congress passed the “Economic Stabilization Act of 1970.″ This unconstitutional grant of authority to the executive branch was the beginning of the modern imperial presidency. There was no national emergency on Aug. 15, 1971, when President Nixon, a Republican, announced a “freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States.” After a 90-day freeze, a special “pay board” and “price commission” would have to pre-approve any increases. This seemed to be a popular action, as President Nixon was re-elected during the 90-day period.

I vividly recall that many items, including toilet paper, became in short-supply because producers, rather than lose money, just stopped production.

I remember the oil crisis in 1973. We were not energy independent, and OPEC drastically reduced production. Prices soared; gas became nearly impossible to find until the late 1970s.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, ran for president with the philosophy that “the government can fix our problems,” promising an end to the energy crisis. Then in 1979, we experienced a repeat of the “oil crisis” of 1973. We got a national speed limit and had to lower our home and office thermostats. During President Carter’s term in office, inflation was rampant, the price of oil doubled.

Since that time our government at all levels has grown exponentially. Aided by a Supreme Court that apparently cannot read and understand our Constitution, government has extended its tentacles into almost every aspect of our lives.

Congress passes “thousand-page” laws that require unelected bureaucrats to write specific rules, that have the force of law, to implement. President Obama, a Democrat, re-wrote our immigration policy with his “pen and a phone.” Our Interior Department wants to regulate nearly every puddle, calling them “interstate waterways.” We hold up economic development under the guise of protecting some obscure wildlife. We have entire departments of the Federal government, such as the Department of Education, that are not permitted by the Constitution.

The most insidious action has become the use of the “carrot and stick” by the Federal government. Congress bribes the states into action by appropriating money that first requires the states to do things for which the Federal government has no constitutional authority. President Biden, a Democrat, calls for social media platforms to censure speech protected by the constitution, and orders the FBI to prosecute, as terrorists, citizens questioning the actions of local school boards.

Our government is, indeed, unwilling to let a crisis go to waste. We see an evolution of government language that covers up or even ignores unconstitutional behavior. Our government is constantly seeking more control over our lives. Our government is trying to “drive the car.” We are becoming just passengers. Our government is telling the people where to go, by what route and how fast.

“We the People” must regain control! — If we cannot - read Orwell’s 1984. It seems our government is NOT here to help the people, only to increase government control of our lives.

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Mike Lang, Chairman

Union County Republican Central Committee