NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 17, 2008

The governmental takeovers of the banking and auto industries have raised important questions concerning the future course of our country, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and former governor of Vermont.  How much government money and how much government regulation of the private sector should be a part of our market economy?  Should America become a Europeanized sort of a nanny state in which the government manages our industries, their boards of directors, their products and their finances?

It shouldn't, but it is clear that the incoming Obama administration believes strongly in governmental control of a great many parts of our economy, says du Pont:

  • During the campaign, Barack Obama called for a 10 percent to 12 percent annual increase in government spending, which will likely come on top of our current congressional spending surge.
  • According to USA Today, this "is increasing the federal share of the nation's economic activity close to $1 out of every $4, the highest level since World War II," and will give us "a budget deficit headed towards a record $1 trillion."

Obama is urging several other pieces of government control legislation that would quickly Europeanize America's future, says du Pont:

  • The next effort will be to mandate government regulation and operation of health care: a federal statute regulating the price, content and supervision of health care, and a government council to significantly regulate the content and cost of health care policies.
  • After that, the regulation and downsizing of international trade: trade creates jobs -- some five million Americans work for overseas companies; the export of American products support some six million domestic jobs, the export of services another five million, and U.S. trade as a share of gross domestic product reached 29 percent in 2007.
  • Obama opposes trade, from his previously stated opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, to his dislike of other regional trade agreements, so we will see our economy shrink if these policies are followed, says du Pont.

As for the environment, the Boxer-Lieberman global warming bill that failed to pass the Senate last June will be back, and with the Democrat Senate's new 58-seat majority instead of the current 51, it is much more likely to pass.  This bill would shut down coal-fired plants and contains more than 300 production regulations and mandates, from a federal commission to impose environmental controls on businesses, to a protectionist agency that could impose tariffs on imported goods.

In short, bigger and more intrusive government is rolling down the tracks toward us, says du Pont.  Taxes will be higher, government spending will be larger, and matters from automobile manufacturing to health care and trade will be Europeanized.  The government will be in charge.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Don't Pull Back; Progressive' policies would cause economic regression,", December 17, 2008.

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