Even Jerry Brown worries about the impact of federal government policies

Jim McTague devotes his latest “D.C. Current” column in Barron’s to the Democratic California governor’s concerns about the likely impact of Obama administration policies.

Up to Election Day, Brown was cheerleading loudly for President Barack Obama, architect of the ever-expanding welfare state. Now California’s governor is warning his citizens that it takes lots of dough to satisfy the appetite of a potbellied federal government.

“Great risks and uncertainties lie ahead,” Brown said in a Jan. 24 state of the state address. “The federal government, the courts, or changes in the economy all could cost us billions.”

I’m sure the governor loses sleep over sequestration — the automatic 10% cuts in the federal budget that, given Washington’s political divide, are certain to occur on March 1. Annual state aid of about $83 billion would be trimmed. Brown also has a gnawing concern about Obamacare, which kicks in next year. “The ultimate costs of expanding our health-care system under the Affordable Care Act are unknown. Ignoring such known unknowns would be folly…,” he said.

If Brown is worried about the costs of federal policies, you should be worried, too. After all, Brown is “the smartest guy in American politics,” according to Vice President Joe Biden. This sage governor gazed into the economic future and saw a fog bank. President Obama, it appears, has ushered us into an age of confusing complexity at a potentially enormous cover charge. For example, the 2,000-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (an egregious instance of mislabeling that should be investigated by the FDA), has engendered 13,000 pages of rules, according to a GOP estimate. Compliance costs will be substantial. Health experts warn of premium shocks on Oct. 1, when insurers price their new coverages.

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