President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday wasn't what I wanted to hear. This is what the president should have said:
"I cannot imagine what I was thinking when I pushed Obamacare. I now see it is folly to entrust government, which cannot balance its books and routinely loses track of billions of dollars, with even greater power over health care.
"If something as simple as a website is too much for government to get right, imagine what government will do to complicated medical pricing and insurance plans.
"Foolishly, my plan destroyed many sensible insurance plans -- some offering catastrophic-only coverage for a lower price -- exactly the insurance so many people need.
"I see my fellow Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, seated nearby. I take to heart his comments, which he can safely make now that he's retiring from Congress, about how Obamacare is economically doomed, with few young people signing up but sick old people taking money out. The math doesn't add up.
"Now that I think about it, it would be better to end government involvement in health care altogether and let people shop around for the best free-market plans, including catastrophe-only plans, depending on individual needs. Let's try that. In fact, let's see if I can revise other items in my agenda so they work better for consumers ...
"Minimum wage laws, for example. Although a higher minimum is popular with people from both parties, minimums make no sense. The law cannot make an employee who a company values at $5 an hour become worth $10. Minimum wage laws just increase unemployment by eliminating some jobs. They don't do the poor any favors. Let's repeal them.
"And let's get the feds out of the preschool business! Government does a bad job with K-12 education. Why would we think our central planning should expand ? My education department funded studies of Head Start, and we were all astounded to learn that they have no effect. It's insane to do more of something that our own research shows does not work. Education should be left to local governments and parents.
"Immigration: It's odd that I'm seen as a friend to immigrants, given that I've deported more of them than the previous president did. But if we don't want people breaking immigration laws, the best thing to do is simplify the law. Conservatives worry that people will come here to mooch off the welfare state or commit crimes. So how about letting people in with quick and simple procedures focused on checking for crime and terrorism, but saying no immigrant is eligible for welfare? That compromise makes sense.
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