Something jumped out at me as I watched the President’s State of the Union address last week. It was the line where President Obama said that the reason that the healthcare bill had hit roadblocks is because it is very complicated legislation and he hadn’t explained it well enough. While I admit that healthcare reform can be complicated, the president gave over 40 speeches on the subject last year. So the reality is that the American people didn’t like what was being explained, not that it wasn’t explained well enough. Polls show that only 38% of Americans supported the specific plan that was being debated even though a majority of Americans want some kind of healthcare reform to bring down costs and help those who are falling though cracks in our imperfect system.
Then the president said that he wants to nationalize student loans because he doesn’t like banks making profits of educational lending. Furthermore he said that the government would then forgive any outstanding student loan debts after 10 years if you went to work in the public sector and after 20 years for those who work in the private sector.
There are so many things backward about this kind of thinking that I almost don’t know where to begin. First of all, profits are a good thing. Profits are what drives our economy, business growth, jobs, competition, supply and demand and innovation. Wherever there is a profit to be made there will be people stiving to make that product or service better for consumers and therefore capture larger marketshare and more profit.
Secondly, we want to give people a financial incentive to work for the government instead of the private sector? Because what we need in this country is more beaurocracy? It has always been the private sector that brings innovation, new products and technologies and that revitalizes the economy. Not so in this “recovery”. This adminstration is pumping money into the public sector like never before. According to USA Today “Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time in pay and hiring during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector. And to add public-sector insult to private-sector injury, data from the Office of Personnel Management show the average federal salary is now roughly $71,000 – about 76 percent higher than the average private salary.”
So what progressives like our president do not understand is that Americans don’t want the government to run everything nor do we think that the federal government can run anything (except the military) better than the private sector. That is the fundamental roadblock that this administration’s agenda is running up against. And I do not think that the president or his advisors or Senator Reid or Congresswoman Pelosi understand that distinction.
This country was founded as a “grand experiment” on the principles of a very limited federal government. It was an experiment that has succeeded for over 200 years in a way that no other government philosophy has. One has only to look to the words of our founding fathers to see how they felt about a large or powerful federal government:
“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson trusted the people to take care of their own lives. Progressives think that we need government to take care of us. But as Ronald Reagan pointed out, “as government expands, liberty contracts.”
So maybe we can’t all just get along when fundamental differences exist in the view of the role of government in America. Maybe one philosophy has to win the day. My vote is for liberty.