I did not want to say it, but President Obama made me: I told you so!
Last week, I wrote that President Obama’s State of the Union would be “riddled with populism, government programs and rants.” While I did not anticipate the milk joke, I also suggested the insidious hidden message: “you, as an individual, are nothing without” government. Unfortunately, President Obama proved me right.
Buried toward the end of the speech, as he was trying to recast himself as a post-partisan politician, he proclaimed: “I'm a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”
Amazingly, President Obama had the audacity to tout Obamacare as an example of his Lincoln-esque vision. Remember, the law mandates individuals to buy health insurance, sets minimum standards of what that insurance looks like and undermines the role of parents in their children’s upbringing.
This is not the vision of Lincoln.
And while Obamacare is the most glaring example of how President Obama has systematically undermined the individual liberty of Americans, it is not the only one. Does he actually believe it was better for Boeing to build its new plant outside of South Carolina? Does he actually believe Americans cannot decide how fuel-efficient their car should be without the EPA? Does he truly believe he can “invest” your money (think Solyndra) better than you?
On all of these and many more, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. The message from President Obama was indeed simple: the government can (and will) make these choices for you.
His rhetoric may have sounded like he believes in limited government, but as we’ve seen from his policies, he actually believes that the federal government can do nearly everything better than any individual. Indeed, he revealed his true intentions as he closed his speech: “No one built this country on their own.”
Obviously no single person built our great country, but it would be a mistake to attribute our nation’s success to central planning. Instead, an amazing and diverse collection of entrepreneurs, intellectuals and hard-working Americans took risks and succeeded in building America. And they did so not at the behest or command of government, but rather because they had the skills and motivation to carry out a vision of their own.