In a funny, yet pointed post, uber-writer Bret Jacobson of Maverick Strategies explores our new-found national affinity toward statism.
A cursory glance suggests something attractive, fit, and possibly a good mate. A closer investigation, however, reveals a surprisingly ample Adam’s apple and hair in unexpected places. Likewise, though they sound appealing in sound bytes, a thorough examination of the biggest policies being pushed on the Democrats’ agenda exposes major socialist impositions dressed up in the high heels of free enterprise.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced through a narrow victory on the 1,000-plus page “cap and trade” legislation designed to dramatically overhaul how our families and our businesses use energy.
This climate bill hides its extensive costs behind the veneer of free market rhetoric. The scheme’s proponents have long known Americans are unlikely to support a massive new energy tax – especially in this hard economic time — so they claim this government-imposed cap on greenhouse gas emissions isn’t a tax. Instead, backers argue, it’s a system through which credits can be bought or sold in a market function.
But the emissions market wouldn’t be free at all; lawmakers have already begun to rig the program, picking winners and losers and earmarking favored industries who would, in the case of the House bill, get their emission credits free of charge.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lifted the veil on the political strategy behind cap-and-trade, explaining that legislators’ affinity for the bill was derived from the fact that it “doesn’t use the word ‘tax’ — even though it amounts to one.”
Indeed, it would be an enormous one. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell said this week, the cap and trade bill would be “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world and the biggest government intervention in people’s lives since the Second World War, which is the last time that Americans needed ration coupons to buy gasoline, food, and other necessities.”
That’s not particularly attractive, and most Americans know it. So despite extensive efforts to tart up a tax as a market-based option, a leading pollster found, according to Greenwire, that “Democratic efforts to sell their agenda on energy and climate change aren’t reaching voters.” This has spurred a course correction for the spin on cap and trade. The new shade of lipstick, apparently, will “get America running on clean energy.”
The price tag for this “market” makeover would include significantly higher energy prices for Americans and their employers, a drastic reduction in jobs, and trillions in lost economic activity.Climate isn’t the only agenda item where there’s more than meets the eye. There’s also the president’s top domestic priority, health care.
Democrats have taken their favorite policy option — government taking over the health care system through a single payer system — and put it under the plastic surgery knife to come up with the market-sounding public option “to compete with the private sector.”
Competition’s good, right? Yes, when it’s fair, competition is the lifeblood of innovation and progress. But as critics have warned, a public option endlessly gorging on public tax dollars would have an unfair advantage over the private sector. Suddenly a public option is the only option.
Despite President Obama’s claims that he wants a government-run health insurance system to compete on fair terms with private plans, how realistic is it to expect that Congress or a later president would not use their authority to bully the market, vote itself taxpayer subsidies, and push out competitors by rigging the rules of the game?
Additionally, consider the President’s claim that government-run health insurance could out-market the market and actually reduce waste and improve efficiency. Presumably, he’s taking heart from such rousing successes as the DMV and public education.
Whether Democrats’ cross-dressing “capitalism” tries to dominate our health care system or exert power over our energy market, the naked truth is ugly.
Nice job, Bret!