The former is beginning to take a toll this year, and will only become more costly as the years roll by. It attempts to regulate health care. Not by promoting free-market principles that would allow patients to understand costs and make sensible decisions, but by attempting to expand the failing model of providing coverage through employer-subsidized health “insurance” plans.
This is a relic left over from World War II, when workers were scarce and employers used benefits -- free health care, for example -- to lure workers. With the Nazis permanently defeated, our country ought to revamp its health care system to put people in charge. When we are truly aware how much various procedures cost, we’ll make better decisions and use health care more wisely.
As Rep. Paul Ryan puts it, “big government is bad in theory, but it’s much worse in practice. And effective government, that is good government that’s limited, focuses in on our core duties.”
That’s not what we have now. Even worse, it seems that nobody is in charge. The president assures us he had no idea his Department of Justice was seeking phone records from AP reporters. He insists he had no idea the IRS was giving special scrutiny to Tea Party groups.
Even if we take him at his word, that means accepting the fact that no elected official can control the bureaucracy. You may think you’re voting for “change” when you cast your presidential ballot, but you’re really just a sucker, picking someone who will learn – at the same time you do -- about all the great things that are being done by “the government.”
Joe Postell writes that this is because the administrative state is an unelected fourth branch of government, one which isn’t controlled by the executive or legislative branches. Presidents come and go, at predictable intervals. Career civil servants, with permanent job status, can survive most scandals.
For example, in the current IRS brouhaha, Politico notes that “most employees involved in the targeting program are covered by protections for federal workers that could drag out the termination process.” No bureaucrat has been fired yet, and don’t hold your breath until one is.
As a start, Postell urges Congress to reassert its lawmaking power, the president to take more control of executive branch actions, and encourages courts to supervise the actions of bureaucrats more closely.
Bigger government isn’t better. That’s the lesson of a century of failed Progressivism. It’s a lesson we’re all going to learn the hard way in the years ahead, unless we take steps to reduce the power and permanence of bureaucrats.