This July 4, many Americans feel less independent than in years past.
Despite picnics, parades and fireworks, the long holiday weekend may not be celebrated with the enthusiasm of years gone by.
Hoosiers are hurting as well. Many have lost confidence as the Great Recession leads us to a new and frightening economic order.
In such troubling financial times, it is good to understand the link between economic freedom and individual liberty.
Economic freedom is the foundation of independence. When we have the financial capability to live where we choose, to buy the home, car, computer, TV and even health insurance that we desire, we know freedom.
We exercise our freedom by making such choices. That constant, individual desire for the "pursuit of happiness," is the engine of capitalism and free enterprise, which is at the core of our American liberty.
As today's federal government takes more and more of our liberty, through higher taxes and regulations, we are losing the "independence" that has made our nation the envy of the world. The patriots who fought the American Revolution did so to ensure a government with constitutionally limited powers, not to replace King George III with a massive central government of unlimited power.
The founders would not, indeed could not, have envisioned a federal government whose purpose includes redistributing wealth, the "bailing out" of private corporations, or taking ownership of banks, auto manufacturers and insurance companies.
The heroes of Lexington and Concord, who fired "the shot heard around the world," didn't do so because they wanted government to run healthcare. Washington's men didn't suffer the frozen horrors of Valley Forge so they could help form a government that would regulate everything from the type of vehicle you drive to the amount of salt in your diet. These patriots knew that a government with unlimited power to tax, spend and regulate was the very enemy of individual liberty.
All Americans should consider on this Independence Day that it is liberty, free enterprise and the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that have made our nation great and caused us to be recognized as the beacon of freedom of the world.
God Bless America,
Indiana State Treasurer