Monday, March 29, 2010

"...a culmination of a sequence of unpopular major initiatives..."

Arnold Kling:
The health care legislation represents a culmination of a sequence of unpopular major initiatives from Washington. First, there was Henry Paulson’s massive transfer of wealth from the people most hurt by the financial crisis to some of the people most responsible for it. Next, came the massive, ill-conceived stimulus bill, which was not timely, targeted, or temporary but instead a pure power grab by Washington. Health care legislation is merely the latest straw.

The American people are watching their country being transformed from an exceptional, vibrant free economy to a broken European welfare state, and many of us do not like the direction of change. We may not know exactly what is in the health care legislation (does anyone?), but we know its intent to assert government authority over health insurance. We know that it creates a large entitlement, paid for in large part by unspecified future cuts in Medicare.

...

I believe that the elites have so mistreated the American people that we should declare that a state of war exists between America and Washington. Our goals in this war must go well beyond the repeal of this year’s health care legislation. Here is a list of additional goals that I would propose:

1. End the current bailouts and prevent future bailouts. Starting immediately, limit the Federal Reserve to holding only Treasury instruments. The Fed needs to go back to being a central bank, not a piggy bank.
2. Cut the pay of civilian Federal workers by 10 percent. The private sector is making painful adaptations to hard times. The government needs to start doing what any other organization would do when its revenues are down.
3. Restructure entitlements so that the future path of spending is sustainable. Congressman Paul Ryan’s “road map” is an example of what an honest budget would look like. If Democrats would prefer higher taxes to such a road map, then those taxes should be explicitly budgeted, rather than pretending that the funds for future benefits are going to appear by magic.

The point here is that health care legislation was just one battle. The overall war is larger. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Yamomoto is reported to have said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” So it should be with us today.

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