Change has come to America with the passing of health-care reform earlier this week. The bill has been one of the most divise in recent political history, leaving the left ecstatic and the right in a state of distress.
In an article for The New York Times, representing the left, is David Leonhardt, praising the president for launching the “biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.” He calls health-care reform “the centerpiece” of the president’s “deliberate effort to end the age of Reagan.”
The bill is the most sweeping piece of federal legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965. It aims to smooth out one of the roughest edges in American society — the inability of many people to afford medical care after they lose a job or get sick. And it would do so in large measure by taxing the rich.
At least he’s frank about it, unlike so many Democrats have been in recent months. The new order in America is taking from the rich and giving to the poor in the name of promoting social justice.
Is this the proper function of government? Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin warned during the House debate last Sunday that expanding the government’s role in health care means that “more Americans [will] depend on the federal government than on themselves for their livelihoods.” Indeed, he dreaded a future in which “government creates rights, is solely responsible for delivering these artificial rights, and then systematically rations these rights.” It is a philosophy that presumes that government knows best and that it has a duty to condition society in the name of progress.
If this is Leonhardt’s “deliberate effort to end the age of Reagan,” it’s happening all right.
President Reagan knew the most dangerous words in the English language: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” In his first inaugural address, he assured the nation that “government is not the solution” to its problems; “government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule,” he said; “that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people.”
Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden.
“Man is not free,” insisted the president, “unless government is limited.” In his farewell address, he told Americans to remember that, “‘We the people’ tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us.”
If this is the full scope of the Reagan legacy which the Democrats today work to demolish, there is no pride to be found in that.