The federal government bans the incandescent light bulb. It bans street signs that have all capital letters and mandates what font they need to be in. Now, Congress has seen fit to focus its august attention on the volume of TV commercials.
The problem is not that these things create unnecessary costs or destroy jobs, which they do, or that lawmakers have more important things to do, which is also true. Rather, the federal government has no business doing any of these things.
He then quotes Tocqueville, who sums up the consequences of this government intrusion:
The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
If you think of socialism and communism as a sort of political and economic cancer that weakens and eventually kills its host; then the process described above by Toqueville is more like a tapeworm that has infected the body politic. Randal Hoven talks about this tapeworm in terms of taxation:
A successful parasite must keep its host alive, finding the point where it can maximize its intake without killing off its source of sustenance. So, too, with governments taxing their citizenry. With taxation, governments can reach the point where higher rates produce less revenue.
An academic study found that a tax increase of just 1% of GDP causes a recession and then a permanent loss of 1.84% of GDP compared to what it would have been without the tax increase. The results of this study have some really broad and interesting implications.
The punchline is that this study was done by Christina and David Romer. You might remember Christina as President Obama's first chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. David, her husband, is on the recession dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the outfit that everyone relies on to say when recessions start and stop. (The date of this study's release was June 2010. Ms. Romer announced her resignation from Obama's administration in August 2010.)
In short, in this mutated and progressively "improved" form of socialism, the goal is definitely not to outright kill the unwitting host, but to keep the humiliations and intrusions into the everyday life seemingly so small and so minute so as to put off as long as possible the day of reckoning. Perhaps 'progressives' figure that way no one will notice what they are doing until it is too late and their agenda is fully realized.
By then, freedom in this country will have all but disappeared; and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will only be a distant memory. Only then will many wake up: I never cherished freedon...freedom never cries.