Mona Charen

"Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble these efforts._ We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what's best for the economy, not politicians._ Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car."

The president is dazzled by the vision of those shiny high-speed rail trains -- and by solar panels, electric cars and other pet projects that have caught his imagination. What he has been unwilling to do is to permit the vast private sector to make its own decisions -- to follow its own ideas.

Instead, the administration has been saddling the private sector with a stifling load of regulations. The burden of Obamacare, most of which does not take effect until 2014, is mostly in the realm of fear and uncertainty. Employers do not know how much each new hire will cost under the new health care regime. Nor can they estimate how the 129 new boards, commissions and agencies will affect the business world.

Meanwhile, the EPA is regulating carbon dioxide as an air pollutant. The NLRB is attempting to prevent the Boeing Corporation from opening a new plant in South Carolina. The FCC is seeking to exert control over Internet commerce through the deceptively named "net neutrality" policy. The Department of Labor is strictly enforcing racial and gender quotas. And the Federal Reserve, along with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (created by the Dodd-Frank law) is practically freezing small-business lending.

This president has spun fantasies about the industries of tomorrow, while punishing the industries of today. His fulminations against "millionaires and billionaires" and his wrath about "corporate jets" betray a fundamentally childish urge to punish success. Under his economic stewardship, there is less and less of that around.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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