Sunday, December 30, 2012

O’s cloud over us all

Americans are in a panic. Crowds throng gun shows and shops. Blue-chip companies fast-forward next year’s dividends to this year. Investors cash out profits, estate planners report a rush of people trying to beat higher inheritance taxes and lobbyists line up for favors. - Michael Goodwin/New York Post

What these people share is the goal of avoiding or benefitting from government actions. More than ever, the “invisible hand” of free markets is being replaced by the visible hand of bureaucrats. The political class is the new master of the universe....

That’s because the tax-and-spending drama in Washington, as pathetic and infuriating as it is, threatens real-world consequences for every American. How could it be otherwise when Big Government is getting bigger?

Much, much bigger.

The frantic run-up to the fiscal cliff, including wild swings in the stock market, provided an ominous snapshot of the new reality. Barack Obama’s re-election was the big story of 2012, but the real impact of his statist policies will be felt in the new year and for many years to come....

The most disheartening aspect of this gloomy vision is that Americans voted for it. Obama was upfront about wanting to raise taxes and expand government and the debt. The reach and cost of Washington grew dramatically in the last four years, and he was rewarded with four more.

It is naive to think he will change course. His rejection of any serious reforms of entitlements shows that he is emboldened. Woe to the man who dares declare that the government already is too big and powerful. He will be denounced as cruel and caricatured as wanting no government at all.

This being the season for predictions, mine is that millions upon millions of Americans who voted for Obama will be disappointed in 2013. But most will not blame him. They will agree with him that the solution is to double the dose of Washington power.

Never mind that the patient is dying. The Obama operation is a great success. Just ask him....