Austin Hill

“Too big to fail.”

Americans have come to loath the idea that some business enterprises are so important and so “big,” that they can’t be allowed to fail - especially as it regards large corporations that “need” government bailouts.  But have we developed a similar disdain for government programs that are treated as though they can’t possibly be failures?

After last week’s State of the Union Address and Republican presidential debate, one might think that the issue of “more or less government” in our lives is merely another consumer choice - kind of like Coke or Pepsi, McDonalds or Burger King. For example, as he recently reviewed America’s debate over President Obama’s government healthcare law, Columnist Carl M. Cannon characterized the battle this way:

To liberals, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is a step toward ensuring improvements in health benefits, lower costs, higher quality care, economic security and fiscal sanity. Republicans, who invariably call it “Obamacare,” almost universally describe it as costly, intrusive, economically disastrous -- and a violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.”

In reality, the choices we make for our nation’s public policy are not all of equal merit – some can enhance our freedoms and our quality of life, while others clearly make matters worse. And many government programs that are intended to “solve” problems – most of which come from Democrats, but far too many of which come from Republicans – often times make matters worse. 

It’s difficult to argue that President Obama’s healthcare reform law has solved any problems at all (notice that he’s not campaigning on the law’s success, but rather, on an agenda to protect it – “we can’t go back” he often notes). But let’s consider another signature program that the President has championed these past three years – his “Making Home Affordable” mortgage rescue initiatives.

Protecting one from losing their home may have seemed like an act of compassion.  But in 2009, it became a matter of federal policy as the government intervened to try to curtail foreclosures.

In March of that year, President Obama introduced the set of federal policies budgeted to cost $75 billion in TARP funds, and which were intended to help make it “easier” for homeowners to remain in their homes and to continue paying on their mortgages.


Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.