As Egyptians half a world away ponder what kind of government they want to live under, Americans must also ask themselves the same question in the wake of Barack Obama’s latest State of the Union Address. Although his salmon joke got a few (undeserved) laughs, few commented that it came just after President Obama “proposed a “major reorganization of the government.” Although he promised to make America “more competitive,” he provided astoundingly few details about what this would look like. So, Americans must ask ourselves: Do we really want to see a major restructuring of the government under Barack Obama?
We Do Big Things Government
As part of his theme that “We do big things,” Obama told the little people they “need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America.”
He began by getting his history wrong. “We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV,” he claimed. Actually, the last major reorganization of the government was in 2002, with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, which consolidated 22 separate agencies. Yet federal bureaus told to work together after 9/11 continue to wage turf battles nine years later.
Richard Nixon, too, reorganized government. Casper Weinberger, Nixon’s budget director, told The Washington Post, “Nixon sort of thought that by the stroke of a pen he could do it, but then Watergate came and destroyed his leverage.” Obama, too, is determined to make law with the stroke of a pen. He claimed in his address, “I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.” But if it does not, much of it may be eligible to be implemented by executive order. After all, it has been done before. Leaving aside the objectionable nature of his (likely) means, what ends will they secure?
Obama’s Idea of Success: Prying Into Your Medical Records
Obama gave some indication by praising the federal government’s role in promoting electronic medical records. “Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste,” he said. “Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse.” However, electronic health records open patients to the threat of hackers. More disturbing, a vast array of organizations already have access to patients’ “private” medical information. The greater fear is that ObamaCare may one day use these records to deny coverage to the unfit.
As this author has noted, the process usually begins with the government constricting individuals’ private health choices over what they eat or drink. The USDA recently tested a new program giving food stamp recipients an extra 30 cents for every dollar they spend on fruits and vegetables, while others have tried to ban recipients from purchasing soft drinks.