American Elephants

Big Government And The Invisible Hand. by The Elephant's Child

Republicans talk a lot about Big Government, when they aren’t talking about Jobs and Free Enterprise, complaining about Spending and ObamaCare, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, and Defense, and a few other things as well.  So what’s the big deal about Big Government?

The United States of America was devised as a country of free people who granted certain limited powers to their government. Politicians, being what they are, are by their very nature inclined to think that they ought to do something about whatever seems to be a problem. Liberals — or Progressives as they prefer to style themselves, since ‘liberal’ has become a tainted word — as the perpetually discontented party — are  convinced that government is capable of solving all problems.

If you are going to buy that, then you probably believe that there are real experts, that the masses of ordinary citizens aren’t too bright and need governmental help. And that’s where we get into trouble.

The private business of health insurance is not going to be so private anymore.  Insurance companies that want to raise their rates will have to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10% or more, according to Kathleen Sebelius HHS Secretary.  The Obama administration will decide what are acceptable rates.  Maybe Ms. Sebelius can speak to the packing companies about the price of bacon — it’s really gone up!

The Obama administration will also design a basic benefits package for the private insurance companies, telling them what they must cover,  The “essential benefits package” will be designed by “independent experts” from the Institute of Medicine and will be built on mid-tier plans currently offered by small employers, expanded to include certain services such as mental health, and squeezed into a budget. Private insurance companies will be required to follow the rules if they want to sell policies to small business.  You’ll be pleased to know that officials will hold “listening sessions” around the country before final decisions are made. Uh huh.

The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) got its first director, and President Obama has declared that” Bank of America’s decision to impose a $5 debit card fee is exactly why we need somebody whose sole job it is to prevent this kind of stuff from happening.” I yield to no one in my annoyance at the new fee, but it isn’t President Obama’s job to tell a private bank what fees they may or may not offer. All power rests in a single director. Bad idea.  Scrap the agency. There are no consumer safeguards and it’s an unnecessary agency.

There is a crisis faced by many hospitals that can’t get their hands on a growing list of both routine and life-saving drugs.  Doctors are rationing, clinical trials interrupted and black markets have emerged.  What’s happening? Lots of excuses, but it boils down to governmental ignorance of the invisible hand described by Adam Smith in 1776. The free market solves supply and demand, over time, by adjusting price. High prices call forth more supply, large volume users get discounts. It is a natural self-organizing marketplace. Instead, government experts have fixed prices by specifying Medicare reimbursement which also sets the benchmark for private insurers.  Remove the ability to raise prices when demand exceeds supply and shortages will follow.

The drive to force kids to eat the foods of which Michelle Obama approves continues. The Department of Agriculture wants to limit starchy foods to one cup a week per student. That is potatoes, lima beans, corn and peas.  Having eliminated donuts, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, soft drinks and high-fructose corn syrup they are on to new territory.  They want kids to try new vegetables. (American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may serve yams, plantains or sweet potatoes to meet the grains/ bread requirement).  US officials admit that the proposed regulations “may pose a particular challenge to implement.” What they don’t seem to grasp is that the federal government has no business dictating the food choices of our kids.

The Obama administration is seeking new power over hiring and firing at religious institutions.  Americans hear constantly about the threats posed by the religious right who want to offer a short nondenominational prayer at graduations or football games. The Obama administration wants to control who religious institutions can hire or fire, and are declaring that the ‘ministerial exception’ is not grounded in the First Amendment, and that the free exercise clause nor the establishment clause have nothing to do with a church’s relationship with its own employees. Injecting itself into personnel matters is way over the line.

Thanks in part to environmental rules, electricity rates are about to get double-digit increasesJust as Obama promised.  Utilities are seeking permission to pass on hundreds of millions of dollars in new charges to customers for the cost of upgrading and retrofitting power plants so they won’t emit any of the carbon dioxide  that our planet needs so much. The costs due to “tougher environmental regulations” are avoidable. They are the product of choices, most of them unsound. Trying to scrub and eliminate CO2 emissions is counterproductive.  CO2 is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring gas necessary for life.

Most of these government encroachments would take place without much notice, but when you look at the big picture, the continuing grasp for control is pretty scary.  It isn’t any one regulation, it’s the spider web of big laws and little regulations, the proliferation of agencies and departments designed to control this or that aspect of citizens lives. It is the impulse to tyranny, devised by those who think they are smarter than everybody else, think they know better what people need.  Then layer on the one “expert” put in charge, the regulations designed to favor supporters, the laws foolishly devised by those who have no idea how the economy works, and suddenly you awake one morning in 1984.

They aren’t smarter.  Their laws aren’t going to work— as has been proven over and over by the evidence they won’t bother to investigate — and the only question become can we stop it before it all collapses?


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Just as Harmon Taylor points out, when people participate in commerce, exchanging paper legal tender, agreeing to be regulated, they get regulated.


Comment by georgesblog360

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