Nanny State, Squared

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Big Government: Hardly a day passes without the unveiling of some new federal intrusion into our lives. At some point Americans must say "enough's enough," or sit silently as all our precious liberties are taken away.

The Democrats in Congress and the White House are pushing through the most sweeping changes toward direct government control of our economy since at least the Great Depression. Consider just a few news items from recent days:

• The Senate moves to give the Food and Drug Administration huge new power over what we eat and drink, and what medicine we take.

• A House panel OKs a new Consumer Finance Protection Agency that will have direct control over consumer credit from banks and businesses - potentially killing a private system of consumer borrowing that, whatever its flaws, has led to unparalleled consumer wealth and access to credit.

• A new "bailout" is proposed for small businesses that will further distort markets, punish successful companies and reward failure. The opposite, in other words, of a free market economy.

• Execs of companies that took government bailouts get their pay slashed - courtesy of U.S. "paymaster" Kenneth Feinberg.

In ways large and small, it's easy to see we're building a nanny state that will make Europe's seem modest by comparison. After all, this doesn't even include health care "reform" or cap-and-trade. Soon, the federal government will control every aspect of our lives - though the Constitution explicitly forbids it.

This is the inevitable result of the massive expansion of government over the past year. The $700 billion TARP program, the $787 billion stimulus, a planned "second stimulus," $13 trillion in new debt over the next decade - inevitably, we'll see new government controls and regulations on nearly everything.

"They are awakening a vast regulatory apparatus with authority over nearly every U.S. workplace, 15,000 consumer products and most items found in kitchen pantries and medicine cabinets," the Washington Post has observed.

Too bad none of it's working. White House economic adviser Christina Romer acknowledged Thursday the stimulus is running out of steam - despite the $194 billion spent.

Meanwhile, the TARP czar admits that, despite comments last year that the bailout could end up paying for itself, very little of the more than $700 billion will be paid back.

What do we get? A slow-growing economy, fewer jobs, government-controlled incomes and trillions in new debt. Some nanny.

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