You must always read Mark Steyn, the effervescent Englishman, National Review columnist, and brilliant observer of the nannification of the World.  In a recent column he said,

No state can insure its citizenry against all risks, although in Nanny Bloomberg’s New York City and hyper-regulated California they’re having a jolly good go.  And that’s the point:  The goal may be unachievable, but huge amounts of freedom will be lost in the attempt.  The right to evaluate risk for oneself is part of what it means to be a functioning human being.

With every line added to the Federal Register, another small part of the human soul vaporizes.  The right to evaluate risk (and, it follows, accept the consequences of being wrong) is a concept rarely discussed, but seen by the left as a direct threat to their utopian dream because once it is admitted that there is something the  government cannot regulate, every regulatory action that it does take must be justified.  And we simply cannot have that.

Economies thrive best when calculated risk taking thrives.  More than that, though, the right of risk taking is so fundamental to human existence that it ought to be a pillar of every Republican candidacy this fall, but it won’t.  It won’t because giving it center stage means saying really hard things that don’t sound soft and fuzzy, like:  the Consumer Protection Agency ought to be dismantled.  A truly free people ought to be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to buy a lawnmower without a blade clutch, throttle interlock, toe guard, self-drive safety cutoff, and fuel line flash arrestor.  In a truly free economy, manufacturers would produce all kinds of lawnmowers ranging from the inexpensive, bare-bones model, to the full-blown NannyMaster 3000, which is so dripping with safety that with every purchase, Ralph Nader shows up to deliver a scary lecture about how the mower could, under certain circumstances, make you sterile.

Do you see how more freedom exists in that scenario compared to the world we have now?  To the left, freedom doesn’t really mean businesses being free to produce what people want.  It doesn’t really mean autonomous people evaluating every situation, being willing to accept a certain level of risk, and making the best decision they can.  It means government-enforced freedom from worry and risk, as defined not by consumers, but by the left themselves.  The former is elevating to the human spirit, whereas the latter leads to societal numbness and incompetence.

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Barack Obama, the first teenage President of the United States, continues to inhabit a world frighteningly detached from economic reality.  Today he bemoaned that he loses sleep over the mounting deficit.  Cheeky doesn’t begin to describe this.  The deficit – at least $12 Trillion over the next decade – is entirely his fault, so in one sense it’s appropriate that it’s his sleep getting lost.  Singlehandedly creating an unimaginable and insurmountable $12 Trillion deficit and then whining endlessly like it’s somebody else’s fault, as Mr. Obama has done over the past month, truly puts him squarely in the class of delusion.

Tax increases won’t be necessary, according to Mr. Obama, because “robust economic growth” will obviate them.  Growth that can fully counteract deficits this large must be robust indeed.  But growth needs fuel, and the fuel is  an economic climate where taxes are low, government is reducing rather than increasing the regulatory burden, and there is certainty about the actions of the state.  At the moment our fuel tank is about empty.

Taxes are most assuredly not going anywhere but up.  Businesses are therefore expecting lower future profits, which makes them less likely to invest in new equipment, train new labor, and engage in risk-taking by developing new products.

The regulatory burden, if the left has its way, will become the envy of the former Soviet Union.  The current administration is salivating over the universe of activities over which they can exercise control now that the political time is right.  Companies with concerns in automaking, tobacco, and greenhouse gas emissions (to name only the most prominent) are expecting a tightening noose of regulations.  Regulations always result in lower economic efficiencies due to resources being directed away from their most productive use as determined by the free market.  Hence, increasing regulation always means less growth than would otherwise occur.

Uncertainty about governmental actions is often underestimated as an economic force.  If there was a 50-50 chance that the capital gains on the sale of your home would be taxed, would you put it up for sale or wait until you knew for sure so you could plan accordingly?  This is exactly the situation most business face today.  The Obama administration is like a drowning man, grasping furioiusly for anything that might float.  It is literally impossible to know what outrageous spending plan, bailout plan, tax plan, lending plan, borrowing plan, takeover plan, or any other plan, might surface next week, let alone next year.   In that climate, business decisions are riskier and therefore innovation is stymied.

We all know that the left becomes positively euphoric when it confiscates and spends the money you earn, but that is but a means to achieve its more primal desire:  raw power and control.  Lest you question this bald statement, behold – the FDA is in a huff about Cheerios.  Specifically, General Mills has been caught making unsubstantiated health claims about its cereal, such as that it may lower cholesterol by 10 percent!  Horror of horrors, we can’t have companies making claims like that.  The FDA has written an actual letter, claiming “serious violations” and actually stating that General Mills’ claims would make Cheerios “a drug” by their definition.  Unbelievable.  Absolutely nothing is too small or too insignificant to escape the tentacles of the state.