- - Thursday, March 13, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

February was not kind to supporters of the liberal agenda. In the span of three weeks, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released three separate reports, each concluding that misguided big-government policies are hurting American businesses and families.

The CBO first reported in early February that President Obama’s health care law will drive millions out of full-time work and push our ballooning national debt to $27 trillion.

A second report released by the CBO concluded that a mandated hike in the minimum wage to $10.10 would kill as many as 500,000 jobs, mostly for low-wage workers.

Finally, a third report suggested that the federal Highway Trust Fund will fall some $100 billion short of meeting obligations in 2015 — thanks in large part to policymakers’ desire to spend money on such pressing transportation priorities as horse trails and covered bridges.

The good news is that these CBO reports have vindicated much of what conservatives have been saying for a long time: Liberalism and its expensive panacea of government-centric solutions are not the answer to America’s issues.

The bad news is that many of our political leaders seem unfazed by these recent revelations, and remain determined to push forward with counterproductive policies that will restrict economic opportunity and push America even further into an ocean of red ink.

Mr. Obama’s health care law, undoubtedly the determinant of his legacy, has done little more than fall flat on its face. Democrats repeatedly promised America they could keep their health plans and doctors.

Mr. Obama promised premiums for the “average family” would fall, and that Obamacare would not add “one dime” to the deficit. We now know all of these statements were lies.

As the dust settled in the aftermath of the botched Healthcare.gov website rollout, America learned these were just the first of Mr. Obama’s false promises, with more yet to come.

Millions of Americans have seen their health plans canceled, learned they could no longer see their own doctor, and watched as premiums skyrocketed by almost $3,000 for the average family.

The CBO has now confirmed that deficits will climb over the next 10 years, while millions of Americans are pushed out of full-time work.

Conservatives warned about these and other negative effects of Mr. Obama’s signature law, but Nancy Pelosi as House speaker brushed off those warnings, and told Americans that lawmakers had to pass the bill so they could see what was in it. Congress passed it, and less than four in 10 people like what they see.

With the news about Obamacare getting worse by the day, Democrats have turned their attention to raising the minimum wage, only to have the CBO debunk this ploy, as well.

Liberals voiced support for a bill authored by Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10, ignoring conservative claims that a minimum-wage hike would harm the most vulnerable people in the workforce.

Soon thereafter, the CBO reported that the proposed minimum-wage hike would eliminate a half-million jobs — mostly for low-wage workers. Moreover, the CBO found that only 19 percent of the wage boost’s benefit would accrue to families below the poverty line.

The minimum-wage proposal has been revealed as just another well-intentioned, left-wing policy prescription that will end up hurting many of the people it purports to help.

In addition to poking holes in two key pillars of the left’s policy agenda, the CBO’s third report exposing the impending shortfall in highway funding made less news but is equally concerning.

As America’s roads and bridges fill with traffic, the federal government continues to waste money on modes of transportation that few people use.

In classic Washington fashion, rather than spending funds responsibly, politicians and bureaucrats have steered resources into projects that have little to do with the original purpose of the funds — and provide even less benefit to the public at large.

In order to close the resulting gap created by this misappropriation, the federal government will likely look to borrow from the general revenue fund, or increase taxes.

The CBO reports of the past few weeks have proved correct conservative warnings about many misguided “progressive” ideas. What’s more, they underscore the need for real, effective, limited-government reform.

As the truth continues to unfold in the face of liberalism, Americans must ask why elected leaders are continuing to lead us down the road to ruin. In an economy struggling to recover under the weight of astronomical levels of debt and ever-growing government budgets, most people have realized that our country must abandon the path of these failed policies.

America deserves a government that does more than pat itself on the back. We deserve a government that empowers us with the freedom to improve the well-being of our families, our communities and our country.

Akash Chougule is a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity

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