A more direct threat to freedom

Resident David C. Wilcox is clearly worried about President Obama but presents a tepid rationale for the existential threat to liberty that the Obama Administration evidently poses [“Terrified of another term for Obama,” Mailbag, April 5]. Yes, the deficit is a problem. Under President Bush, Republicans aggressively reduced taxes and dramatically increased government spending, thereby squandering a huge Clinton-era surplus and guaranteeing decades of red ink. But I am guessing that Wilcox was not as concerned with the financial impact of undeclared war on a country that posed no direct threat to the US (Iraq), the tax cuts that were not offset by budget reductions, or the unbudgeted expansion of Medicare for prescription drug benefits when this agenda was signed into law by a Republican.

When the Great Recession hit at the end of the Bush Administration, short-term stimulus spending was required to keep the economy from a depression, further elevating deficits. But let me get this straight: When a Democrat cannot immediately turn the tide against nearly a decade of irresponsible Republican fiscal policy, we are marching down the road to socialism?

We should also remember that the use of an individual mandate for healthcare was a Republican idea, championed by the Heritage Foundation and advanced by Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. It was proposed by Bob Dole as an alternative to “Hillary Care” in the mid 1990s. In short, the centerpiece of The Affordable Care Act was in the Republican mainstream as recently as a couple of years ago. When the mandate was being pushed by Republicans, it was called a free enterprise alternative to European-style systems. But now it's somehow an instrument of government coercion enforced at the point of a gun.

There are too many problems with Wilcox's analysis of various “great thinkers” to easily dissect, so I'll leave that for another day (does he seriously equate John Locke to Ayn Rand?), However, I would argue that the ruling from the Supreme Court that corporations have the same free expression rights as U.S. citizens can be neither found nor inferred anywhere in the Constitution and is a far more direct threat to freedom than President Obama's Auto Bailout or his center-right healthcare policies.

James Clark

La Cañada Flintridge

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