Bill Murchison
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So, then, just how did we get here?

Obama said X , and Cruz said Y , and O'Reilly and MSNBC and Reid and Pelosi went into hyperdrive, and ... and?

The chronological congruence of the government "shutdown" crisis and the launch of Obamacare (I exclude current foreign policy topics for reasons of space) suggest the need for aspirin washed down with a couple of stiff ones.

I have my own theory: Events have been building toward this moment of pain and agony for about 70 years -- ever since the historical moment when the American electorate told Franklin Roosevelt it was time the federal government started sorting out the particulars of economic growth and distribution. No one figured out (or could be heard saying, anyway) that the more resources Washington felt obliged to oversee, the shriller would grow demands that the bounty go into this pocket or that one.

The current crisis is only peripherally about health care exchanges, spending resolutions and vitriol spewed by the political and journalistic fraternities. The current crisis, at its heart, is about greed and the human lust for authority over other humans.

It is what happens when the government -- a construct made up of humans -- acquires, one way or another, nearly uninhibited power over a society's financial resources. All for very noble reasons! Yes, yes -- so goes the story. Noble and generous reasons! Sound, patriotic reasons!

First, under FDR, the government had to haul us out of the Depression. There were make-work programs and subsidies of one kind and another, including the implied subsidy of official protections for labor unions. Then, in the 50s, Washington had to oversee and maintain our post-war good times. Later came the demands (dating, in inspiration, from ancient times) that we spread the wealth more equally. The War on Poverty was declared; Medicare was instituted and federal funding for schools grew hugely. Once the principle of government support for health care found firm footing, it was inevitable that claims would arise concerning the need for every last one of us to share the joy. Hence, Obamacare.

No one can tell where things will lead after Obamacare -- which is likely to survive in diminished or expanded form, once it hooks 10 or 20 or 30 million of us on the joys of health care funded by other taxpayers. Earlier retirement, bigger pensions, bigger schools, subsidized auto purchases, subsidized utilities -- who can say? This makes it all the more important to restrain and diminish the reach and power of Obamacare.

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Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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