I've been meaning to write about how ObamaCare's unelected rationing board — innocuously titled the Independent Payment Advisory Board — is yet another example of the Left leading America down the road to serfdom. (Efforts to limit political speech — innocuously called "campaign finance reform" — are another.)
As Friedrich Hayek explained in The Road to Serfdom (1944), when democracies allow government to direct economic activity, the inevitable failures lead to calls for a more authoritarian form of governance:
Parliaments come to be regarded as ineffective "talking shops," unable or incompetent to carry out the tasks for which they have been chosen. The conviction grows that if efficient planning is to be done, the direction must be taken "out of politics" and placed in the hands of experts — permanent officials or independent autonomous bodies.
The problem is well known to socialists. It will soon be half a century since the Webbs began to complain of "the increased incapacity of the House of Commons to cope with its work."
Sound familiar? National Review's Rich Lowry picks up on the theme here.
Making this connection got a lot easier the other day when the University of Chicago's Harold Pollack, a leading advocate of a "public option," vented his frustrations over at The American Prospect blog about how Congress is likely to defang the Independent Payment Advisory Board. And he ends up just where Hayek predicted:
Despite many reasons for caution — the words George W. Bush foremost among them — I'm becoming more of a believer in an imperial presidency in domestic policy. Congress seems too screwed up and fragmented to address our most pressing problems.
This isn't how it starts. This is how it snowballs.
Paging Dr. Hayek...