WASHINGTON -- Only two things are infinite -- the expanding universe and Democrats' hostility to the District of Columbia's school choice program. Killing this small program, which currently benefits 1,300 mostly poor and minority children, is odious and indicative. It is a small piece of something large -- the Democrats' dependency agenda, which aims to multiply the ways Americans are dependent on government.
Democrats, in their canine devotion to teachers unions, oppose empowering poor children to escape dependency on even terrible government schools. Unions and their poodles say school choice siphons money from public schools. But federal money funds D.C.'s program, so killing it denies education money to D.C. while increasing the number of pupils D.C. must support.
Most Democrats favor a "public option" -- a government health insurance program. They say there is insufficient competition among the 1,300 private providers of insurance, so people should not be dependent on those insurers. But tuition vouchers redeemable at private as well as public schools is a "private option" providing minimal competition with public schools. Government, with 89 percent of the pupils, dominates education grades K through 12. So, do Democrats favor vouchers to reduce American's dependence on government education? Of course not.
For congressional Democrats, however, expanding dependency on government is an end in itself. They began the Obama administration by expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program. It was created for children of the working poor but the expansion made millions of middle-class children eligible -- some in households earning $125,000. The aim was to swell the number of people who grow up assuming that dependency on government health care is normal.
Many Democrats favor -- as Barack Obama did in 2003 -- a "single-payer" health insurance system, which means universal dependency on government. The "public option" insurance proposal was to be a step toward that. So was the proposed "alternative" of making 55- to 64-year-olds eligible for Medicare. Both of these dependency multipliers will be revived.
As will the Democrats' drive for "cramdown" legislation that would empower government (courts) to shred mortgage contracts, thereby making borrowers eager to embrace dependency on judges. Soon, the two most important financial decisions most families make -- to get a mortgage and a college tuition loan -- will almost always be transactions with the government.