There was much speculation that Obama would change the topic, and reach toward the middle, but the specific proposals mentioned in his speech were mostly cut and pasted out of the same laundry list that was revealed in last year’s budget. It may be news to someone that he is going to wait for things to cool off before pursuing health care, but probably not. More importantly, the things that he has pushed ahead of the health-care agenda, like ending deferral of multinational’s U.S. tax liabilities, have been around longer than Obama has. He had a chance to introduce at least one good new idea, and dropped the ball faster than a Minnesota Vikings running-back. I doubt that Democrats view no news as good news, and they must be feeling disappointed tonight.
Watching him list one costly agenda item after another, I couldn’t help feeling that we need a constitutional amendment that requires politicians to start promises with the words “I want to take your money and.” It might be that such a rule would constrain them, since I can’t imagine anyone having the courage to say, “I want to take your money and use it to pay off the college loan for that rich kid down the block,” and “I want to take your money and use it to help your plumber buy a new wrench.”
– Kevin A. Hassett is senior fellow and director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.