Listening to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, I was reminded of something Friedrich Hayek once wrote: "The more the state 'plans' the more difficult planning becomes for the individual."
Our ability to plan and pursue happiness becomes limited as the size and scope of government increases, ultimately resulting in increased dependency.
The minimum wage hike Obama proposed is an excellent example of limiting an individual’s ability to pursue happiness. Putting good intentions aside, the outcome of a minimum wage hike is a reduction in employment and an increase in poverty. What's more, a high minimum wage prices low-skilled workers out of the market, preventing them from gaining skills and moving up the economic ladder. This results in increased dependence on government programs such as job training and financial aid.
ObamaCare, which made headlines in Illinois with the approval of a federal-state partnership exchange, is another example of limiting an individual’s ability to plan. Whether federally run or state-funded, exchanges put the federal government in control of the health insurance companies that may participate in the exchange, the plans that may be offered and even what doctors and providers can participate in exchange-offered plans. All of this restricts an individual's freedom to choose the health insurance that best suits their needs. ObamaCare has also forced many employers to decide whether to drop health insurance, reduce hours or cut employment, forcing individuals into the government-run system.
Obama's State of the Union painted a stark contrast between two competing visions for America. The first is a vision of dependence on government in which a group of elites use government to intervene and make decisions they believe are best for individuals. The second vision is of individual sovereignty and the ability to plan and pursue happiness without intervention from government.
We believe free enterprise and the liberty construct the Founders envisioned and put into law is the greatest force for good ever created in the human sphere. The Founders' vision works because it protects individual liberty while creating prosperity; not just material prosperity, but prosperity of the human spirit. It unleashes human potential and allows individuals to pursue their dreams with optimism. Our belief in this vision is what drives us to advance free market ideas and ultimately see them turned into law.
I invite you to attend “Obama 2.0” hosted by AM560 on March 14 to learn more about how the decisions made in Washington, D.C., will affect our lives. As part of that discussion, I will share why Illinois is on the way back from the precipice despite all you may read and hear.
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