A. Barton Hinkle on Obama and Dependency


White House

History will remember President Barack Obama for many things. One of them will be his campaign to increase dependence on government—a goal he has pursued with missionary zeal. Everyone needs a helping hand to get through life at some point. Some people, through no fault of their own, need a helping hand for the entire journey. Government has a role to play in providing it, as even apostles of market economics, such as Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, recognized. But for many decades, the general (and correct) sense was that depending on government should be a last resort: People should support themselves if they are able to, lean on friends and family when they aren't, and rely on the coerced assistance of others only so long as absolutely necessary.

The president, points out A. Barton Hinkle, does not share that view.