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Government Control Is The Real Issue

Two cases now being heard at the Supreme Court deal with Obamacare, religious freedom and women’s access to contraception: Sebelius (government) vs. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. vs. Sebelius.

Hobby Lobby, with the funny name, is actually a family-owned chain of 640 highly successful arts and crafts stores. In the 1970s, owner and founder David Green, 72, an Oklahoman, was making and selling miniature picture frames in his garage. Now his family-owned enterprise employs 28,000 people in 640 stores across the land. It’s an American dream story. Hurrah for Mr. Green!

He and his family hold deeply religious beliefs regarding “life” issues, and from the company’s start committed to adhering strictly to their Christian principles – one being that life begins when an egg is fertilized. Everyone who agrees to work at Hobby Lobby knows that a Southern Baptist family runs the show, but also knows they aren’t expected to share the owners’ beliefs, only respect them.

Now, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), a business is mandated to offer free birth control to include IUDs and the morning after pill, Plan B, in its employee insurance plan. The Greens believe these medical devices and medicines abort a fertilized egg, and claim the mandate violates their religious freedom rights. At least 47 other cases have been filed concerning for-profit companies and the contraception mandate in courts across the U.S., according to a recent article in the Washington Post online, “Here’s What You Need to Know about the Hobby Lobby Case.”

It’s best to know at this point that I take the side of the business owners, not because I necessarily agree with their stance, but because as a business owner myself I know what government mandates and regulations do to destroy companies. The United States once had the most robust economy in the world, and today we have a horrendous $17-trillion national debt. We rank 12th among nations by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation by economic freedom measures, which include property rights, corruption, limited government (includes government spending), regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Weforum.org ranks the U.S. seventh in global competitiveness.

Business owners like the Greens follow a dream, risking their own savings and often their family lives to succeed. While never easy, a business should be rewarding. Today, those who’ve never had to anguish over paying payrolls or making lease rent or have expansion plans dashed are running things in Washington and haven’t a bloody clue what damage they’re doing to business owners and, in turn, workers.

The reason for the meteoric rise of America as an economic power is our freedom, including a free enterprise system that encourages people to risk, grow, compete, hire and invest. It doesn’t exist anywhere else like it once did here. Just ask any immigrant cab driver living in the U.S. I hear these statements all the time: “I came from (name a country) to get away from big government control. Now I am worried America is going that way, too.”

Once you tax and regulate “to level the playing field,” a socialist ideal, the democratic ideal will crash into a mountainside of class envy and mediocrity.

If the Supreme Court rules against Hobby Lobby and the Green family holds true to its religious convictions, they’ll have no moral choice but to opt out of Obamacare, incurring $475 million a year in fines, money that could go to higher employee wages and new stores, providing jobs for some of the 10.4 million unemployed Americans, not counting millions more who’ve quit looking.

This Supreme Court case deals in part with birth control, but the real issue is government control. When a presidential candidate campaigns on the idea that he wants to fundamentally change America, we should all listen.

Note: For a real eye-opener on Hawaii’s impending health care fiscal disaster, read the L.A. Times report “Grim scenario for Hawaii’s Obamacare plan: The numbers don’t add up,” by Mark Reston.

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