When Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency, he promised us a less polarized and less partisan political environment and a more transparent and accountable federal government.
Unfortunately, these lofty campaign pledges were nothing more than empty rhetoric. Nowhere is this more evident than with the recently signed health care reform bill.
Obama and congressional liberals are basking in the glory of the passage of this bill. They’ve fulfilled a century-long dream of the progressive movement. But will this assault on the legislative and democratic process live up to its promises, to provide more affordable health insurance for all Americans?
Hispanic support for the bill indicates that too many of us continue to believe that the government is well-suited to administer services. It’s not. Moreover, support from the major national Hispanic advocacy groups for this sweeping legislation underscores their commitment to push us further into dependence on the federal government.
Instead of looking at ways to truly empower our community, too many of the organizations that claim to represent us continue to place their faith in government, rather than in individuals. This is disheartening. Part of the genius in this country is our entrepreneurial and creative spirit, which has opened the door for prosperity and a better quality of life for all Americans. This is precisely what brought many of us (or our parents and grandparents) here.
Unfortunately, this health care bill is nothing more than a victory for those who are convinced that the government is best suited to decide what type of health care works for our families. Rather than providing us with real choices and competition, this health care bill gives more power to the federal government.
It’s also one of the most expensive pieces of legislation in our country’s history. At a time when our country is weathering a deep recession and facing mounting deficits for existing unfunded entitlement programs, the passage of this bill is an act of pure recklessness.
Perhaps the worst indictment of this bill is how it was ultimately passed. Rather than keeping to his campaign promise to clean up ugly backroom deals and eliminate political favors, the president sat by idly as congressional leaders used every political maneuver in the book to keep the American people in the dark. Despite having promised us a more transparent government, Obama looked the other way as Congress negotiated important details behind closed doors.
Some may argue that the current minority employed the same practices when they were in the majority. Fine, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
Whether we know it or not, the passage of this health care bill effectively means that we have ceded more of our liberties to the federal government. We can also expect to see our taxes rise to help pay for it.
Instead of favoring a government-run system, the president could have adopted simple measures, such as allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines, to help millions of Americans gain access to affordable health coverage. Unfortunately, President Obama and this Congress soundly rejected free-market proposals in favor for a more intrusive federal government.
As this Congress marches onward to take on other issues of paramount importance, including education and possibly energy policy, we must resist blindly placing our faith in the federal government. Remember the ideas of opportunity, freedom and liberty that drew us to this country. Isn’t that the type of society we want to live in?
Israel Ortega is a Senior Media Services at The Heritage Foundation located in Washington, D.C. www.heritage.org
First appeared in The Americano