John Stossel on the real state of our Union
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
I know. Medicare and Social Security are popular. But they are unsustainable. The only way to cut costs and still have medical innovation is to free the market. So I propose that we repeal Obamacare immediately. My proposal was a mistake. We should repeal all government interference in the medical and insurance industries, including licensing. It all impedes competition.
We must shrink the military’s mission to true national defense. That means pulling our troops out of Germany, Japan, Italy and dozens of other countries. America cannot and should not try to police the world.
On his show on Wednesday, Stossel invited some prominent libertarians — David Boaz of the Cato Institute, Matt Welch of Reason, Gary Johnson, and Megan McArdle of The Atlantic — on to discuss the themes in President Obama’s State of the Union address, including taxes and entitlements — both issues that Obama falls horribly short on: