The following statements about Tuesday’s election from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. These comments represent their own opinions only, and not any sort of “official” Heartland Institute perspective:
“Voters have opted to support policies favoring more regulation, greater government spending, and higher tax rates. These are destructive policies. At best, the economy will continue to struggle with sluggish growth. At worse, an aggressive move by the administration to impose its agenda will produce a flat to down economy.
“For most workers, take-home pay will be limited by higher tax rates and a shift in resources to pay for public initiatives. Workers with marketable skills will find productive jobs. Less-skilled workers will continue to bear the brunt of the effects of sluggish growth.
“As for financial markets, interest rates will remain low in response to a sluggish economy while stock prices will continue to follow the trendless path of the past decade.”
Policy Advisor, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
“The president got reelected without compromising his positions in any way, a truly stunning achievement. Those who believe in the nation’s founding ideals of liberty and personal responsibility would do well to learn from that.”
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute
“I’m not surprised. The biggest ‘achievement’ of the Obama presidency has been Obamacare, which was modeled on Romneycare in Massachusetts. So the election came down to a choice between the man who gave us Obamacare and the man who gave Obamacare to the man who gave us Obamacare. There was no compelling reason to change president.
“I’m being only a little tongue in cheek. Romney is a big-government Republican. Obama is a bigger-government Democrat. Democrats and Republicans get all worked up over what really are minor differences. For instance, Obama wants to slightly raise tax rates on top earners. Romney wanted to lower tax rates but limit deductions, credits, and exemptions in a way that might have resulted in higher tax bills on many earners. Romney himself said his plan would be ‘revenue neutral,’ meaning the amount of money pouring into the federal government would be the same.
“When the choice is six of one, a half-dozen of the other, why get so worked up? Maybe because of the potential Supreme Court nominations? The abominable ruling upholding Obamacare was written by Chief Justice Roberts, who was appointed by that compassionate conservative Republican president, George W. Bush. He may as well have been appointed by Vladimir Lenin. Plenty of justices who have shrunk freedom and grown government have been appointed by Republicans.”
“President Obama’s re-election will most directly affect education by the limits that will have to be put on its future state and federal spending so taxpayers can attempt to afford our catastrophic health care, Social Security, and welfare programs. Obama rules like a czar in education, having granted himself the power to directly manipulate state policies through education waivers and federal grants. Expect more interference in the next four years, to states’ chagrin.”
“With the comprehensive tax rate increases going into effect January 1, and the exploding Obama regulatory burdens, we can expect the country to go back into recession next year. That will mean a return to double-digit unemployment and sharply increasing deficits probably soaring to over $2 trillion. During the 1970s we experienced double-digit inflation along with recession, and with the groundwork the Fed has laid for that, we can expect that to return as well. With the Obama defense policies we will be inviting war as well.”
“Ronald Reagan, when facing an election, always put his faith in the American people to make the right choice. I believe they made the wrong choice on Tuesday, and we will all live with the consequences.
“The American people have chosen to endorse government-run health care. They have chosen to allow bureaucrats in Washington to usurp the long-understood constitutional definition of religious liberty. They have chosen to keep borrowing endlessly from China – or whoever might be left out there to subsidize our rapidly climbing $16 trillion debt – to subsidize Obama’s endless spending. They have chosen the path of doing nothing sensible to avert the fiscal cliff of massive tax hikes on all of us come 2013.
“They have chosen to pretend the federal entitlements of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security need no adjustments to demographic reality. They have endorsed the idea that we can tax our way toward economic growth and prosperity by bullying businesses trying to make a go in the private sector. They have chosen to endorse the most corruptive forms of crony capitalism. They have endorsed an Environmental Protection Agency that will make sure we never build another coal-fired power plant. They have ensured that uninformed, non-scientific environmental radicalism puts a stop to the fracking revolution – which puts clean-burning and efficient natural gas into our energy structure.
“In short, they have chosen the empowerment of government over the liberty of the individual and free markets. I believe we’ll find that such a profound rejection of the benefits of free enterprise, economic freedom, and personal liberty will not bring us to the promised utopia. It will bring us only the misery we have experienced since 2009. And Americans have now made it harder than ever to reverse.”
“Get ready for the worst: A slew of economy-crippling EPA regulations, soaring energy prices, and a White House that has climate change as its centerpiece.”
“We will have a continuation of the worst four-year economic performance since the Great Depression. Adjusted for inflation, the per-capita gross domestic product remains below the level achieved in 2008. Many young people in their 20s, without full-time jobs, face grim prospects of a productive career. We will have continued economic stagnation and continued decline of full-time jobs.
“Congratulations to President Obama. Now that Obama will never have to face voters again, he may attempt to make global warming a key part of his legacy. Watch for the heavy hand of the EPA, which is poised to implement the climate regulations that Congress refused to pass. Obama’s vision of an EPA bureaucracy shutting down carbon based energy in the name of controlling the climate, will be massively opposed and exposed.”
“We will witness a major expansion of EPA regulations choking off industry – particularly the coal industry – and increasing energy costs. Federal agencies will make a concerted effort to control drilling of oil and gas on private lands via regulations. Many federal agencies will justify increasing regulations by making false claims that the regulations are supported by science. This will lead to a reduction in the credibility of science and scientists in the eyes of the public.”
Executive Vice President
Science and Environmental Policy Project
“Ben Franklin said that the moment voters realize that they can vote for themselves money from the public treasury, it would ‘herald the end of the Republic.’ Our country has simply decided that we want to live off of one another. We want freedom without responsibility. We do not care about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the meaning of true liberty, and we do not understand economics and what it takes to make an economy grow.
“We envy those who have worked hard and demand their property through legalized plunder. We demand fairness without caring about unfair acts imposed on our fellow man. We have, in short, become a nation of ignorant, selfish individuals who could not care less about what our nation was supposed to be.”
Jack A. Chambless
“The re-election of President Obama and continued control of the U.S. Senate by Democrats means there is little hope for real reform of health care coming out of Washington over the next few years. The best that can be hoped for is that states and private citizens on their own will be able to pursue innovative, market-based policies and solutions that restrain costs, expand access, and ensure that America’s health care system continues to provide the highest quality of care in the world.
“As Obamacare is implemented over the next several years and its severe shortcomings and general unworkability become apparent, the Obama Administration should allow states the flexibility through waivers to experiment with health care policies that put patients and doctors in charge, not bureaucrats and politicians.”
The Heartland Institute
“Many marijuana issues were on ballots in yesterday’s election. Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington. The city of Detroit passed a law decriminalizing marijuana possession. The state of Massachusetts passed a medical marijuana law. Several ballot measures involving marijuana were defeated, notably in Oregon and Arkansas.
“When my book The Economic of Prohibition was published 20 years ago, I was often asked my opinion if marijuana should be or would be legalized. My stock answer was that medical marijuana would start to be legalized in 10 years and that marijuana would be legalized in 20 years, probably during an economic crisis. My only prediction in print was that the reform process would begin after the turn of the century i.e. after the year 2000.”
Senior Fellow and Resident Faculty Member
Ludwig von Mises Institute
“The lesson is that many libertarian positions are popular, and that the Republican Party is not a reliable vehicle for making them into law or custom. If the GOP goes on campaigning against leaving people alone it is always going to be the party of rigid retirees and angry rednecks and Fox-News-watchers. Such folks, a declining demographic in the long run, are very ready to increase spending on war, interfere with women’s reproductive apparatus, break into people’s houses in the middle of the night to seek out drugs, and stifle immigration in a nation of immigrants.
“Yes, I know: the Democrats have their own problems, in particular their delight in more compulsion by a government that they can never quite believe is a band of robbers into whose clutches we have fallen. Between the two I can’t choose, so I voted for Johnson. What did you do?”
Distinguished Professor of Economics
University of Illinois at Chicago
“ ‘A republic, madam, if you can keep it.’ Those were Benjamin Franklin’s famous and perhaps apocryphal words in answer to a passing woman in Philadelphia who inquired what kind of government the framers of the Constitution had devised. Perhaps Franklin, a well-known ladies man, was more prescient than we even thought.
“Fueled by today’s famous gender gap and such pro-administration ads as ‘you want to do it with a great guy … who cares whether you get birth control’ (Lena Dunham) and ‘vote like your lady parts depend on it’ (Obama campaign), the country has strayed about as far from a self-governing republic and toward a socialist nanny state as it can get.
“With Social Security and the federal government’s 80-some means-tested welfare programs alone having consumed $1.755 trillion in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service, and the true costs of Obamacare and its ‘free’ birth control not having yet kicked in, it is difficult to see how this country pulls out of the social welfare ditch into which it has now been driven.
“For without all those children who will now apparently go unborn, there will be no one to pay our present and future debts in the tens of trillions, and no successful republic has ever survived the hyper-inflation otherwise necessary to eliminate that kind of debt.
“Let us hope that President Obama’s team has a good plan for something other than winning an election, for the nation sorely needs it now. When they get done celebrating, the gentlemen and ladies of this administration should kindly get to work on it – and quickly!”
David L. Applegate
Policy Advisor, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
“There is a fiscal cliff problem and both the House Republicans and the White House need to craft a compromise on the federal budget. Common ground could be found in seeking to make government efficient in everything it does while both sides compromise on the need for some revenue enhancement.”
The Heartland Institute
“The die is cast for the coming crash. Whoever is in power will own it.
“It is tragic but true that addicts generally do not recover until they hit rock bottom. But then they don’t always recover. Addiction to government dependency might be incurable. We must do whatever we can to keep the flame of liberty from being snuffed out.”
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
“This is sad, although Mitt Romney, with his socially conservative agenda, wouldn’t have been a friend to liberty. Worst of all is the plain fact that most Americans are statists now and have pretty much abandoned the ideals of the American founders.”
Tibor R. Machan
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise
Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University
“Looking to the future, it would appear that the federal government’s fiscal imbalance must immediately be addressed for the country to restore an incentive to invest. Without a resolution of this fiscal imbalance risks capital flight, as well as the outbreak of inflation if not stagflation. After all, money that has been sitting on the sideline will only sit still for so long. This fiscal imbalance includes the current budget, but also includes the now-grave imbalances in the nation’s entitlement programs.
“The president’s budget proposals for the past several years have been non-starters within his own party and have absolutely no appeal to the other party. They involve huge increases in indirect business taxes along with the palliative of higher taxes ‘on the rich,’ to justify the higher taxes that are to be borne by all, even if indirectly. The no-brainer of tax reform – which was included in the Simpson-Bowles budget proposal and which was offered by the Congressional Republicans to resolve the budget impasse of 2011 – was specifically attacked by the president during the campaign.
“In terms of the possibility of going over the ‘fiscal cliff,’ Republicans should not feel that they have to give in to the president. By both raising taxes across the board and by slashing spending, the fiscal cliff would dramatically reduce the federal deficit. The restoration of investor confidence caused by this dramatic reduction of the deficit would approximately off-set the Keynesian effect of the reduction of aggregate demand. While there are much smarter ways to reduce the deficit, going over the fiscal cliff may be the only way, politically, to actually get it done.
“With the election now over, it is possible that the president will be receptive to working with the congressional Republicans, and therefore reduce the deficit in a smarter way. Usually, in Washington, ‘compromises’ mean more spending and actually make things worse. But, it may be possible to effect win-win-win scenarios where, for example, the president delivers on his promises to the Latino community of a real Dream Act in order to get a deal on tax reform – representing a win for the Democrats on immigration policy, a win for the Republicans on tax policy, and a win for the American public.”