Epstein: "Obama's Doomed Utopia"

Obama's Doomed Utopia
Richard A. Epstein
Forbes.com
August 18, 2009

August is normally a time for vacation and reinvigoration, for this author who is now in attendance at the Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Sweden. But while he is speaking of the virtues of free markets and the rule of law, the home front reveals a summer of intense confrontation and disillusionment as two nonmarket issues, health care and taxes, confront a restless and bellicose public. And herein lies a political tale about the importance of principle in politics.

Barack Obama was a great, if empty, orator when running for office. He projected an elusive utopian vision of hope and change that won over the hearts of those who postponed thinking about how the brutal fact of scarce resources can stymie even his grandiose plans for social reform. Unfortunately, his campaign skills have not easily transferred to the humdrum business of governance. So much so, that his best chance for reelection requires the remainder of his legislative program to fail.