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Mr. Obama and the Democrats have decided, in the current cliche, to “double down.” What’s the endgame here? Mr. Obama gave it away in his student loan “reform” proposals: If you choose to go into “public service,” any college loan debts will be forgiven because public service is more noble than the selfish, money-grubbing private sector. C’mon, everybody knows that. So we need to encourage more people to go into public service?

Why? In the past 60 years, the size of America’s government work force has increased five times faster than the population. Yet the president says it’s still not enough: We have to divert more of our human capital into the government machine. He’s explicitly telling you: If you start a business, invent something, provide a service, you’re a schmuck. In the America he’s building, you’ll be working 24/7 till you drop dead to fund an ever-swelling bureaucracy. Mr. Obama’s proposals are bold only insofar as few men would offer such a transparent guarantee of disaster: It’s the audacity of hopelessness.

Mark Steyn is the author of the New York Times best-seller “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006).