November 6, 2011 6:50PM

You’ve Got the Power; Now Use It

In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank urges President Obama to follow President Kennedy’s lead and use the power of the federal government to intimidate business:

Roger Blough, the U.S. Steel president, … defied Kennedy in 1961 by raising prices. “You have made a terrible mistake,” Kennedy told him. Subpoenas flew, FBI agents marched into steel executives’ offices, and Kennedy spoke about IRS agents examining “hotel bills and nightclub expenses [that] would be hard to get by the weekly wives’ bridge group out at the country club.”

Yes, that’s a great vision: a president using the far more powerful and far‐​reaching federal government of today to force every business, every union, every nonprofit in the country to fall in line. Is that really what journalists would like to see — a president deploying subpoenas, FBI agents, and IRS agents to effect political gain? This is just one of the problems with giving any government such powers.