Obama Presidency

Democrats Ram Through Change thanks to Crisis Atmosphere

| by Cato Institute

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
the secretary of state who no doubt thinks of herself as “fourth in the
line of succession,” tells a European audience how the Obama
administration will pass an agenda that Americans have previously
rejected: “Never waste a good crisis … Don’t waste it when it can have
a very positive impact on climate change and energy security.”

As I’ve written several times, governments throughout the decades
have taken advantage of wars and economic crises to expand their size,
scope, and power. Bob Higgs wrote about “Crisis and Leviathan” long
before Naomi Klein called it “The Shock Doctrine.”

But the striking thing about the Obama administration is that they
openly acknowledge that’s what they’re doing — using a crisis to ram
through their entire policy agenda while people are in a state of
panic. Projects like national health insurance, raising the price of
energy, and subsidizing more schooling — the three prongs of President
Obama’s speech to Congress — have nothing to do with solving the
current economic crisis. But the administration is trying to push them
all through as “stimulus” measures. And they keep proclaiming their
strategy.

First it was Rahm Emanuel:
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And this crisis
provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do
before.” Then Joe Biden: “Opportunity presents itself in the middle of a crisis.” Not to mention Paul Krugman and Arianna Huffington. And now Hillary.

Not since George Bush the elder told the media that his campaign
theme was “Message: I care” has a president been so open about his
political strategy. But these people are displaying a contempt for the
voters. They’re telling us that we’re so dumb, we’ll go along with a
sweeping agenda of economic and social change because we’re in a state
of shock. They may be right.

But voters and members of Congress should remember Bill Niskanen’s sobering analysis of previous laws passed in a panic.

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