Modern liberalism has just two problems: It ignores, or is ignorant of, (1) the laws of economics, and (2) the will of the voters. Other than that, it’s all good.
Exhibit number one is Obamacare. We were told that it was necessary to “bend the curve” down and reduce health care costs. No one bought that argument at the time, and even the government’s own Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster admits that isn’t true: When asked point blank by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) of the House Budget Committee if it were true that Obamacare would reduce medical costs, Foster answered, “I would say false.” As for the will of the voters, how many elections do Democrats have to lose before they get the message that the American people don’t want government controlling 1/6th of our economy? Put it this way, if Scott Brown couldn’t bear that message, it can’t be borne.
President Barack Obama is just as intransigently attached to his radical energy vision. Consider this from his State of the Union address:
“Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”
Astute commentators like Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute noticed that the President’s new ‘goal’ is eerily reminiscent of the old “goal” of the notorious American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), otherwise known as the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill, which died an ignominious and deserved death in the last Congress. As Lewis notes, the Energy Information Administration, an analytical and forecasting adjunct of the Department of Energy, had estimated that under the ACESA cap-and-trade regime, electricity from all ‘clean’ sources could have reached 81 percent of total generation by 2030.
Unbelievable – cap-and-trade failed in the trial by fire that is the democratic legislative process. What’s more, members of Congress who had supported Waxman-Markey faced the wrath of voters last November and found their ranks considerably thinned as a result of their support for the draconian bill which would have driven up energy costs for everyone and hit poor Americans hardest (a comprehensive analysis of an early version of Waxman-Markey by the Heritage Foundation found that the bill would “raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500” and “destroy 844,000 jobs.”) Yet the president still insists on pushing one of ACESA’s key objectives, and even has the temerity to challenge the new Republican Congress to help him do it.
Claiming that the government can create jobs by mandating a market for liberal pet projects bespeaks of deep economic ignorance. To keep shoving those pet projects down the throat of a public that has already gagged on them bespeaks of deeper - and more dangerous - arrogance.
Matt Patterson is senior editor at the Capital Research Center and a contributor to Proud to be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation (HarperCollins, 2010). His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.