Was This What They Had in Mind?

Daniel Henninger writes that the promise of a new, dynamic president for the 21st century has been overrun by the reality of a series of statist policies that seem to be tied together only by their boundless faith in government. But this should be no surprise:

So far Mr. Obama has used his personally exciting presidency for initiatives that are spending public money on a scale not seen since ancient Egypt. Besides Obama Motors ($60 billion to $100 billion), there is Obama-Care for health insurance ($1.2 trillion over 10 years), the stimulus ($800 billion), a global-warming offensive called cap and trade that hopes to siphon hundreds of billions of dollars from the economy, and a fiscal year 2010 budget of $3.59 trillion. Out of these mists of federal “investment” they promise five million “green collar jobs.” Only public-sector lifers could believe, or assert, anything so fantastic.

Yes, the Obama team is infatuated with government and dedicated to making a concerted effort to dismantle a robust private market-based economy. The resulting industrial policy is one that would have been rejected by the voters — had Obama had the nerve to run on it in November. Henninger argues that it’s not very “new” at all:

Instead, we’ve gotten the Old Economy on dialysis. General Motors has been commanded to restart aging UAW factories to output product on behalf of the administration’s hybrid-car obsession. Where’s the New Economy in any of this?

Or ObamaCare. How will a build-out of Medicare (b. 1965) to cover everyone and costing $1.2 trillion over 10 years not kill innovation in medical and health technology by siphoning away growth capital and its potential financial rewards?

And this suggests, at some point, a problem with the coalition of brainy professionals, young voters, and high-income urbanites. Socking them with a round of higher taxes is only the start. For a generation used to customized and personalized everything they may get a rude awakening when they find out that a one-size fits all healthcare plan isn’t very “user-friendly.” Voters who selected the post-partisan, post-racial, “cool” candidate may wonder soon why this all seems like a throw-back to some bygone era.