Victor Davis Hanson

Lots of things that should have happened in 2013 did not.

We were supposed to have long ago reached "peak oil" and an age of always-higher gas prices. Wind and solar power -- and a reduced lifestyle -- were our dismal future.

But someone or something did not cooperate with gloomy government predictions. After all the failed subsidized green companies, the postponement of the Keystone Pipeline, the radical restrictions of new gas and oil leasing on federal lands, and the promises for radical climate-change legislation curtailing carbon energy use, the United States nevertheless seems awash in old energy.

Gas prices have been going down. Oil and natural gas production is going up. America may soon be the largest coal exporter in the world. There is little worry over any more Middle East embargoes and cutoffs of oil.

Energy-intensive industries talk of relocating from Asia and Europe to a new America of cheaper electricity. The more the Obama administration wanted a landscape of alternative energy, the more it seemed traditional oil and natural gas gushed out of American soil.

Obamacare may take its place among Sasquatch, crop circles and the Loch Ness monster as one of the great hoaxes of all time. Before the 2012 election, Americans swallowed hook, line and sinker the con that they could all at once keep their existing health plans, keep their own doctors, keep their 25-year-olds on the family health plan, never be denied coverage for a costly pre-existing condition, sign up instantaneously on a website, buy insurance only after becoming seriously ill -- and yet save $2,500 in annual premiums as part of the bargain. And all that without any new taxes on the middle class.

In 2013, the ruse was revealed. Voters learned that nothing is free, and that it's impossible to get more coverage for more people at less cost. Plans were cancelled, doctors were dropped, premiums soared, websites crashed. Medicare was raided. Taxes were raised on everything from medical devices to real estate sales. Medicaid enrollments spiraled.

In 2013 the grievance industry also fizzled. For all the demands to change the supposedly insensitive name of the Washington Redskins, team owner Daniel Snyder said no, the public nodded, and that apparently was that.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.