But it’s not just that he talked about an issue as small-ball as day care, it’s how he talked about it that helps explain why so many have soured on the guy (indeed, his SOTU ratings over the years have tanked, with Tuesday’s speech the worst yet). For all his yammering about how “tonight, we turn the page” and that we need to be “looking to the future instead of the past,” Obama is stuck in the dreariest, 20th-century liberal mindset when it comes to problem solving.
After falsely claiming that the federal government provided “universal childcare” during World War II (in fact, the feds provided child care for a peak of 130,000 kids in 1944, Obama laid out his grand plan for fixing this problem: Give “working Americans” tax cuts and subsidies to buy child care. In fact, that’s pretty much his answer to everything, whether we’re talking college (whose cost he pledged to “lower…to zero”), health care (Obamacare is built around subsidies for insurance premiums), or home ownership (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are back to requiring just 3 percent down on home loans).
The one thing you’ll never hear Obama talk about is increasing the supply of just about anything. But that’s precisely how prices really come down and increasingly higher-quality goods and services become affordable and ubiquitous. We didn’t get to cheap hamburgers by subsidizing their purchase through targeted tax breaks to working Americans. Fast-food chains drove down prices and upped quality in their desperate attempts to grab and keep customers.
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