Last night, in pitching his idea for a new energy bill, President Obama said that we couldn’t afford not to do something. If history is any guide, when Obama says we can’t afford not to pass his preferred legislation, American taxpayers should brace themselves.
Obama held a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana on February 9, 2009 to sell his economic stimulus package. During his remarks, he said:
Economists from across the spectrum have warned that if we don’t act immediately, millions of more jobs will be lost. The national unemployment rates will approach double digits not just here in Elkhart, all across the country. More people will lose their homes and their health care. And our nation will sink into a crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse.
So we can’t afford to wait.
The result? An $862 billion stimulus package, and double digit unemployment anyway.
During the health care debate, Obama repeatedly said we couldn’t afford not to pass the specific brand of legislation he was advocating. On March 19 of this year, just before the bill passed, Obama told an audience at George Mason University:
“(Y)ou’ve got a whole bunch of opponents of this bill saying, well, we can’t afford this; we’re fiscal conservatives…Not only can we afford to do this, we can’t afford not to do this.”
The result? A national health care law that costs more than $1 trillion over the first 10 years (even though the major spending doesn’t kick in until year five), and raises the burden of health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP.
And here was Obama last night on his vision for the future of energy:
(T)here are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy…
The result? To be determined. But I’ll wager a guess that it will cost a lot of money, at best do nothing to solve the problem, and quite possibly make things much worse.