Yesterday, the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce sent a mass email to all legislators touting this (characteristically excellent) opinion column from Robert Samuelson. Samuelson makes an important point that nobody really likes to think about: the effects of out-of-control growth in entitlement spending on our lives – and, in particular, the way that entitlement spending is squeezing almost everything else out of government budgets:
The paradox is that governmental competence is being systematically degraded while the government’s size, as measured by its budget, is increasing. We are spending more and getting less, and — unless present trends are reversed — this will continue for years. It threatens the end of government as we know it.
The fiscal session began yesterday, and it’s become a cliché to say that the Obamacare “private” option will be the most important issue that the legislature decides. The PO is arguably the biggest expansion of the welfare state in Arkansas history.
It’s a shame, though, that supporters of the “private” option seem to be ignoring the very important questions that were raised yesterday by Samuelson and the state Chamber. Maybe there’s a lesson here about how insidious the growth of the entitlement state can be, and how very difficult it can be to find citizens who are willing to resist this trend.