by Andrew P. Napolitano
Recently by Andrew P. Napolitano: Two Failures
President Obama has been a failure. On his watch, the American economy has significantly deteriorated largely because he has stifled free market forces by over-regulating them and because he has laden taxpayers with debt. Those two factors alone – the federal government increasing the cost of doing business by telling businesses from physicians to major industries how to do their work, and the federal government spending trillions it doesn't have and pushing the debts onto future generations – are enough to sink any economy.
In this arena, Mitt Romney has it half-right. He does understand that only free market forces can produce prosperity, but he fails to see that when the government spends what it doesn't have, the result is inflation and higher taxes for future generations. Why does the federal government now spend half a trillion a year in debt service? Because every president, Republicans as well as Democrats, from FDR to Obama has borrowed money in order to spend more than he collected and has let future generations deal with repaying the debt. Because the feds do not repay (they merely roll over) their debt, the cost of interest payments has skyrocketed. Romney's ability to articulate the virtues of the free market and to dance around the issue of debt, while the president nearly fell asleep, are the reasons he did so well in the presidential debate last week.
In the realm of foreign affairs, the president has unleashed a torrent of violence in the Middle East by supporting some of the people his predecessor was fighting a few years ago. Those folks now run the government in Libya and Egypt, and those places are now unsafe for Americans. What would Romney do? He'd insert the U.S. military to extend American dominance and build a new world order. What has Obama done? He's bombed and killed innocents with drones. Neither has learned the lessons of 9/11: You cannot kill people or occupy foreign lands without moral and legal justification, lest you suffer deadly consequences.
Because Romney and Obama are different only in degree, I wish the cabal of former leaders of the two major political parties that runs the debates would permit former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to participate. He is the Libertarian Party candidate who is on the ballot in all 50 states and the only current national candidate who if elected would shrink the government and keep it within the confines of the Constitution.
Don't hold your breath. The debates are crafted by the folks who run the Romney and Obama campaigns. Romney is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are tired of unconstitutional government and deficits and war. Obama is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are appalled at the government's murderous drug wars and its assaults on personal freedom and who also are tired of war. Both sides fear Johnson because he is essentially fearless when it comes to his belief that the Constitution means what it says – meaning if it does not authorize the feds to regulate health care, fight undeclared wars or mortgage the future, then they simply cannot do it.
But the powers that run the means by which we elect presidents have decided that they can ill-afford a frontal assault on the big government they have created, on national television much less, and four weeks before a presidential election. You see, without Johnson in these debates, the argument will remain how much the feds should regulate, rather than whether they should do so.
I was disappointed but not surprised when Romney defended the concept of the feds regulating ordinary commercial transactions and borrowing money to spend it on things like federal aid to education, rather than defending the free market and the constitutional restraints on the feds. Obama is either a Marxist who doesn't believe in personal freedom or private property, or a nihilist who doesn't believe in anything except his own ability to exercise governmental power. Romney sounds like another big-government Republican who wants to regulate part of the economy, fight wars on a credit card and let your grandchildren pay for it.
If you want a real debate – one that will explore the proper constitutional role of the federal government in our lives before it gets so big that we cannot safely challenge it – you will be disappointed, unless Gary Johnson is let in.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is It Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.