Thursday, November 1, 2012

Obama: Breakthrough or Bridge Too Far?

Let us suppose that Mitt Romney wins by 3-5 percent next Tuesday and gets a Republican Senate.  For President Obama and his left-liberal supporters, will it all have been worth it?

As John Podhoretz opines, you have to hand it to the president.  When he had the power he rammed through as much of his left-wing agenda as he could cram through Congress.  And as we know, it is easy to create new spending, and almost impossible to roll it back.
In his first 16 months as president, from his inauguration through the signing into law of ObamaCare, Obama arguably altered the trajectory of the United States in a manner that neither Mitt Romney (should he become president) or the president who succeeds Obama after his second term concludes in 2017 will find easy to redirect — if he or she even wishes to.
It starts with the big numbers, the $700 billion of TARP.  After that, the $800 billion of stimulus and supposed $1 trillion of Obamacare is just more of the same.
That TARP program utterly changed the terms of the Washington debate about the economic crisis and the nature of the government’s role, especially since its colossal size barely slowed its rapid adoption into law. The voices raised against it were basically dismissed as being on the fringe. The system needed an expression of confidence and an explosion of liquidity.
 So the question is whether the Obama interlude is a replay of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society when liberals seized an opportunity to enlarge government power and reach by handing out "free stuff" in a way that could not be reversed.

My guess is both Yes and No.  Yes, Obama has put government deeper into health care, and that will not change.  Paradoxically, his Obamacare was designed in part to try to put a lid on Medicare, the government's biggest problem, by instituting back-door rationing.  So Obama would hasten the time when the whole government machine shudders to a halt.  If the Romneys roll back Obamacare and reform Medicare they might actually make the entitlement program last another ten extra years.

But the basic problem is that people will not give up on their entitlements until the whole system crashes, as I wrote about yesterday.  When it comes to their Medicare, people are like the members of the NRA.  Like the NRA member's proverbial gun, you can get my Medicare from my cold dead hand.

People will only give up on their entitlements when the government goes broke, wrecks the currency, and defaults on the debt.  And maybe not even then.

That is America's real problem.

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