Why the Stimulus Flopped


From Mark Steyn:

But the silver-tongued salesman sails on. Why be scared of a government health program? After all, says the president, “Medicare is a government program that works really well,” and if “we’re able to get something right like Medicare,” we should have more “confidence” about being able to do it for everyone.

On the other hand, says the president, Medicare is “unsustainable” and “running out of money.”

By the way, unlike your run-of-the-mill politician’s contradictory statements, these weren’t made a year or even a week apart, but during the same presidential speech in Portsmouth, N.H. At any rate, in order to “control costs” Obama says we need to introduce a new trillion-dollar government entitlement. It’s a good thing he’s the smartest president of all time and the greatest orator since Socrates because otherwise one might easily confuse him with some birdbrained Bush type. But, if we take him at his word, then a trillion-dollar public expenditure that “controls costs” presumably means he’s planning on reducing private health expenditure — such as, say, your insurance plan — by at least a trillion. Or he’ll be raising a trillion dollars’ worth of revenue. Either way, under Obama nothing is certain but death panels and taxes — i.e., a vast enervating statism, and the confiscation of the fruits of your labors required to pay for it.

That’s why the “stimulus” flopped. It didn’t just fail to stimulate, it actively deterred stimulation, because it was the first explicit signal to America and the world that the Democrats’ political priorities overrode everything else. If you’re a business owner, why take on extra employees when cap’n’trade is promising increased regulatory costs and health “reform” wants to stick you with an 8 percent tax for not having a company insurance plan? Obama’s leviathan sends a consistent message to business and consumers alike: When he’s spending this crazy, maybe the smart thing for you to do is hunker down until the dust’s settled and you get a better sense of just how broke he’s going to make you. For this level of “community organization,” there aren’t enough of “the rich” to pay for it. That leaves you.

For Obama, government health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture in which all elections and most public discourse will be conducted on Democratic terms. It’s no surprise that the president can’t make a coherent economic or medical argument for Obamacare, because that’s not what it’s about — and for all his cool, he can’t quite disguise that. Apropos a new poll, the Associated Press reports that Americans “are losing faith in Barack Obama.”

“Losing faith”? Oh, no! Fall on your knees and beseech the One: “Give me a sign, O Lord!”

But he has. They’re all along empty highways across rural New Hampshire: “This Massive Expansion of Wasteful Statism Brought to You by Obama Marketing, Inc.”

Entire essay here

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