So, as it turns out, the 2012 presidential election won’t really be about same-sex marriage. Or deportations. Or Bain Capital. (Well, mostly not about that stuff.)
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s health-care reform law, the election will–at its core–be squarely about Obamanomics, and whether American voters are happy enough with the results of four years of radical economic experimentation to give the go ahead for four more of the same.
That’s what Obamanomics is, of course. A grand, immensely expensive experiment to see if Obama’s central planners are any better at their jobs than their European counterparts;
if raising taxes on wealthy people and small business creates more wealth and more entrepreneurs;
if long-term economic growth comes from private-sector innovation or government spending;
if financial markets really care about unsustainable debt;
and, finally, if more regulation and taxes can provide America with a health care system that controls costs without a) reducing quality or b) eventually devolving into a rationing scheme.
Indeed, Obamacare–the purest synthesis of all the various experimental facets of Obamanomics–is really a hothouse theory masquerading as tested policy. It assumes–based on just one controversial study, really–that there is so much waste and efficiency in the U.S. health care system that it is possible to expand coverage and save money if bureaucrats are given more power, consumers and markets less. But when, to steal a line from the president, has that ever worked?
To help Americans make a fully informed decision, Republicans must clearly spell out an alternative, particularly as it concerns health care. They must tell voters that the problem with the health care system is that it undermines the very same market forces that have brought us myriad products and services at high quality and lower cost elsewhere in the economy. They must tell voters that the U.S. health care system must better enable them to spend their own money–with government help for the poor and the elderly–on health insurance tailored to their needs. Choice, competition, and transparency has worked in the other 80% of the U.S. economy; it can work in health care, too.
State capitalism and top-down planning or market capitalism and bottom-up innovation. The Supreme Court has defined the choice.