Libertarianism…I figured someone would bring that up eventually, other than the fine folks at Reason Magazine that is. Oh that delightful belief that we can solve everything by doing nothing. Well, I read an article the other day stating that libertarianism, mostly its tenant of little to no government regulation, will provide a viable and needed alternative to what the “big government” Obama administration plans to attempt. While I certainly agree Libertarianism has its time and place to be useful, now is neither. Wasn’t 8 years of Bush style Libertarian polices enough?
Bush was no Libertarian you say. On matters such as wiretapping of US citizens, LGBT rights, and stem cell research, the Bush administration operated in a hands on matter to understate the issue. When Bush applied a little Libertarianism the results were utter failure.
Concerning Iraq, the Bush administration favored using contractors rather than government military personal for many positions. A Libertarian would argue here that this would be favorable. Opening the market to many different bidders should allow the government to have the job for the best price by the best workers. That didn’t happen. Companies gouged the government, going way over schedule and way over budget. The government has found much of the building contractors are doing to be well below standards. And of course there is the whole Haliburton mess. KBR, which was a subsidy of Hal, has $2.7 Billion in undocumented spending. They supplied our fighting men and women with unsafe drinking water and faulty electrical work that led to troop deaths. KBR still operates in Iraq. Who picks up the tab? I’m sure you can guess.
How about health care? According to a recent article in the Atlantic in 2000 there were 39.8 million Americans without health insurance. By 2007 the number had swollen to 45.7 million. Health care premiums rose from $6,438 per year to $12,680 per year from 2000 to 2008. Could this have all stemmed from the Libertarian approach to letting the markets sort out health care the Bush administration took?
“Perhaps the most puzzling abdication was the GOP failure to do anything at all on health care. The window for saving private health care from government encroachment is closing, and both business and workers are feeling the pinch from rising costs. Yet Republicans failed to make health-care savings accounts more attractive, failed to let business associations offer their own health plans, and failed even to bring to a vote Arizona Congressman John Shadegg’s bill to avoid costly state mandates by letting health insurance be marketed across state boundaries.”
They missed their chance to fix health care without “big government” stepping in. By taking such an extreme hands off approach to health care, the Bush administration pretty much secured the need for government to step in and solve the issue.
Of course we can’t forget the current economic crisis; really how can we forget. While a few hard right free market groups will slap your mouth if they hear you blame deregulation for the crisis, most will agree that deregulation or at least a lack of regulation is at least partly to blame. The government did not prevent the sale of the toxic mortgages which started this whole mess. When the bubble was about to burst the Federal Reserve did not react accordingly. Had Fed Chair Alan Greenspan only identified the bubble the public perception of the housing market would have altered and the crisis would have been averted or at least contained. Lack of regulation on mortgage qualifications, loan risk assessments, and predatory lending ultimately pushed the crisis over the edge.
Now, here we are living the results of the Bush administrations Libertarian policies. Do you still think that is what he need right now? If you do I just have one more thing to say. Katrina.