We heard a lot of flowery, sweeping language last night in the State of the Union. Some grand visions were laid out. President Obama says Americans should get 80% of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. He says 80% of Americans should have access to high speed rail within the next 25 years.
Why? Clean energy and high speed rail sound great. But our government can't produce such things as well as the free market, and shouldn't even be trying. Such conceit from the political class is bankrupting the country. Government is trying to do too much, for too many people, and is burying us all in the process. It's time to start slashing--not “growing” through central planning.
I like how Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason Magazine, puts it:
As Rep. Paul Ryan rightly emphasized last night, the only real policy issue in America right now is that we are on the verge of fiscal catastrophe because we cannot afford the government we're paying for today, let alone promising for tomorrow. And the president, though he is much more serious on this issue than a huge swath of his political party, is nonetheless not remotely serious about this issue. Vowing to cut $400 billion over 10 years (a plan that, judging by the two people clapping when he proposed it, will likely be cut to ribbons by the time it winds through Congress), at a moment when the deficit for *this year* is more than three times that, indicates that Democrats (and a helluva lot of Republicans as well) are hunkering down in our awful status quo -- half-heartedly tinkering around the edges of spending, making incremental changes this way and that, then launching new moonshots and redoubling old, useless efforts. Politicians have put us on the precipice of financial ruin, and they show no indication of doing a damned thing about it.
If President Obama really wants more innovation, he should get the government out of the way, and let the American people do what they do best. Doing that will require cutting the government down to “sustainable” size. Tomorrow night, I’ll give some of my ideas as to how to do that. Here's one:
Get the government out of the transportation business, and let the experts handle it. What does President Obama know about high speed rails? What does he know about ANY kind of rails? Privatize Amtrak. Get rid of all rail subsidies.
Amtrak is just the beginning. That would only save two billion dollars. The CBO projects an average annual deficit of $768 billion over the next decade. Tomorrow night (FBN 9 and 12pm EST) I’ll get the scissors out, and I’ll cut that, and more.