Obama Signals Massive Federal Spending

Well, here it comes. We can’t claim he didn’t warn us. Obama will try to socialize medicine and massively increase federal spending.

The Denver Post reports:

President-elect Barack Obama is formally launching his ambitious health-care reform effort with a call for ordinary Americans to spend the last two weeks of December talking about health care, then sending their ideas to Washington.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle, the man who will lead the reform effort and Obama’s likely nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, reached out to citizens during a health-care summit in Denver on Friday morning. He cast it as the first step in an ambitious effort that will end in a much improved health-care system for the country — and one that won’t be derailed by economic crisis.

Especially now that the Rocky Mountain News appears to be on its way out, we can look forward to more such journalistic cheerleading for Obama’s grand spending sprees.

Obama, the Post declares (citing Tom Daschle), will “increase access to health care for the poor and uninsured.”

Of course the system is rigged to solicit the opinions of those special interests who desire the concentrated benefits of wealth transfers. But Americans who favor liberty may also send in comments. (I include my comments below.)

Paul Hsieh explains why Obama’s plan would lead inexorably to a government take-over of medicine. See also a piece by Grace-Marie Turner (via Brian Schwartz).

Obama also wants to redirect resources on a massive scale to politically-approved enterprises. The New York Times reports:

President-elect Barack Obama promised Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the inception of the interstate highway system a half century ago…

Mr. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions.

Given the government ownership of roads, the government will fund such projects. Yet, given that system, the dedicated gas tax is the best way to link use to funding. The only goal should be to improve the roads, not to “stimulate” the economy, a recipe for wasteful special-interest spending. (The proper policy of turning the transportation infrastructure over to a free market lies beyond the scope of this post.)

Spending in other industries will only further bring them under the direct control of the federal government. We’ll see more spectacles like the one of car manufacturers prostrating themselves before their political masters, promising to be good boys and girls and make things the way Big Mommy thinks best.

Obama’s policy, to the degree that it is implemented, will stifle entrepreneurial creativity, turn business leaders into servants of the political class, and transfer funds away from the productive to the profligate.

Following are my comments to Obama:

Dear President-Elect Barack Obama,

I am writing express my support for individual rights, which you appear ready to undermine. People have the right to decide for themselves how to spend what they earn and on what terms to cooperate with others. The government’s sole legitimate function is to protect our rights to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness.

You propose to expand the forcible redistribution of wealth, not only to advance the government take-over of medicine, but to “create” numerous politically-approved jobs.

Yet the failures of modern health care are a direct result of previous political controls of medicine, including tax policies that have tied insurance to employment and mandates that have increased the cost of insurance.

Your make-work schemes will not add net jobs to the U.S. economy; they will only divert resources away from some jobs to ones that you and your political supporters favor. The funds inevitably will be influenced by special-interest politicking. The modern mortgage crisis, like modern problems in medicine, were caused by misguided political controls, including manipulation of interest rates, government-sponsored lending institutions, and unjust lending mandates. The proper response to the mortgage crisis is a renewal of economic liberty, not a continuation of failed political controls.

I am not persuaded that your administration will listen to the voices of Americans who favor liberty. As you surely know, special interests will dominate your solicitation process, as they stand to gain from your wealth redistribution plans. Meanwhile, the many Americans who stand to pay the price in terms of higher eventual taxes, inflation, and lost economic opportunities may be mostly ignored. I urge your administration to rethink your unjust policies of “spreading the wealth around” by political force. I urge you to instead help restore the nation to its heritage of liberty.

Ari Armstrong