One of my favorite Homer Simpson quotes is, “Beer, the cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems!”
This simple joke turns deadly serious when you change the word beer to government and apply it to America in 2013.
Let me explain. I believe most of America’s major problems in the last decade can be traced to government gone wild, with the solution to the original excess of government being – voila – more government! Want some concrete examples?
The housing bubble and resulting economic meltdown of 2008 is one that is both obvious and painful. The federal government decided everyone should be a homeowner. Lawmakers passed and steadily enhan-ced a series of programs called the Community Re-investment Act that coerced lending institutions to provide mortgages to people who could not normally qualify. Then the government mandated that taxpayers needed to guarantee most of the subprime loans. This was done through the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These enterprises were directed by legislative quota to guarantee 70 percent of the shaky mortgages. Big banks were also directed to originate and manage large chunks of loans they never wanted to make. This direction came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Dev-elopment. When the whole system collapsed from so many bad loans being written, the answer was: more government. In the best tradition of “paying the Visa with a MasterCard” the governments spent several trillion dollars to bail out the big banks, Fannie May and Freddie Mac. This is the series of events commonly called quantitative easing and it is still happening. The Democratic Congress then quickly passed the 2,500-page Dodd Frank bill, which they apparently did not take time to actually read. That bill created the new Consumer Financial Protec-tion Bureau that I believe ignores the underlying causes of the financial crisis while pursuing an unrelated liberal, partisan agenda. The crisis was not caused by failures of consumer protection. It was caused by a housing bubble that was created by government-mandated easy credit.
Then there is the fantasy football game called the Affordable Care Act, which we all know as Obamacare. There’s simply nothing quite as patriotic as a Soviet style, top down, authoritative takeover of one-seventh of the economy that makes citizens stand on the corner with a tear in their eye. Not tears of joy mind you, but real tears in the eyes of 5 million people who have so far received cancelation notices from their existing insurance carriers. Our dear leader said with no equivocation you can keep your doctor and if you like your health coverage you can keep that, too. Period. No small print, no conditions added – or so we thought. In my opinion, the whole pitch President Barack Obama gave to win an election turns out to be a big lie. Yes Mabel, you cannot keep your health plan and your doctor is likely to switch to an all cash provider status to stay alive.
So the ever-busy Demo-crats in the Senate have decided that the solution to the unintended horrendous consequences of compelling citizens to buy insurance they do not want or need is to make the insurance companies sell policies that the government just outlawed. The same insurance companies that were fighting the Obamacare mandate – that forced them to discard their “substandard” plans and provide new, improved ones through the government website – will be shaken down by the Obama regime to fix the problem the government created. Not only will they be required to sell the same plans we had before, but they will have to do it at a loss. You can always fix a government-caused mistake by adding more laws, more taxes and more government – or so we are told.
The next phase of this grand plan will be insurance companies going bankrupt or getting out of the health care market altogether. This precipitates the end game of government application to a government problem, namely single payer health care. Socialized medicine is the “Obamunists’” dream – where everyone in the health care system is a government employee. What was once a health care system consumed with a desire to find solutions and cures to the most obscure health issues will be forever changed.
So as we ponder the ever-increasing size and scope of our neo-totalitarian adventure known as the Obama administration, let’s all remember – we get the government we deserve.
Ken Johnson, a software industry entrepreneur, routinely contributes to the Opinion page. Contact him at email@example.com.