Annapolis Institute Overview


Clinton’s policies alien to America

by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Rocky Mountain News, April 5, 1994

With the stock market down more than 300 points and interest rates rising for the first time in years, pundits are focused on short-term jitters in a nervous stock market.

But, not everyone lives in the short term. Indeed, there is growing anxiety about the long-term effects of Clinton-Gore policies in other areas. These include fear of a trade war with Japan and/or China, escalating conflict with North Korea over nuclear weapons, deeper involvement in the mess in Central Europe, federal intervention in the information and communications industries, rising taxes and the “culture cleansing” policies of the Clinton administration.

Culture cleansing takes many forms. Example: Clinton’s health care “reforms” would establish giant new government bureaucracies endowed with enormous power that will centralize and politicize every health care issue at the federal level.

Controversies that now surround abortion or Dr. Kervorkian’s promotion of “assisted suicide” would not be contained and worked out at lower levels. Each would immediately escalate to a “federal case” to be fought out among interest groups, like a Supreme Court nomination. Even the treatment of strep throat could become a political issue at the federal level.

Though Americans are relatively apolitical (compared, for example, to Europeans) and uncomfortable with big government (unlike most Japanese and the Europeans), nearly every health care reform promises more of both — a clash of cultures.

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s personal vision of the American West — one he sees populated by and run for the benefit of “urban exiles” — is a frontal assault on people and communities that mine things, make things and grow things on or adjacent to public lands.

Babbitt’s Platonist trust in “experts” and his patronizing approach to the views of ordinary people who work the land and pay taxes lie at the root of his “culture cleansing” initiative to bring in outside environmentalists to make sure grassroots leaders are sufficiently “green” in the choices they make.

The administration’s proposed government takeover of the health care industry will soon be matched by proposals for a federal takeover of the energy industry. The vehicle: a United Nations initiative under the Rio Treaty to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions — yet another plan to expand the role of government in American society and economy.

No matter where you turn, there’s evidence that this is a government at war with America’s family-based entrepreneurial culture. Led by people schooled in and oriented toward the “plantation” economies of modern Europe — where technocrats and big institutions, including big government bureaucracies, call the shots and run the show — administration leaders run the risk of becoming aliens in their own nation.

Clinton’s fundamental policies — initiatives to grow the size and scope of government, expand the regulatory regime and increase taxes and spending are moving against the tide of history. Coupled with vacillation in foreign policy, recklessness in trade policy and too little concern about impact of taxes now at historic highs, Clinton’s policies will harm the country and do more damage to his presidency than Whitewater ever will.

Get the Bonus Years column right to your inbox

We take your inbox seriously. No ads. No appeals. No spam. We provide — and seek from you — original and curated items that make life in the Bonus Years easier to understand and easier to navigate.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Other posts from the Annapolis Institute:

More from Phil: