Sophistry is used by Obama, the Democrats and even some Republicans to vilify very successful companies dealing with crucial commodities – like gas. Opponents and demagogues portray the $10.65 billion profit of Exxon Mobile as obscene and rapacious – and demand that punitive actions such as windfall profits taxes be imposed in order to “recoup” what shouldn’t be theirs.
This is an essential component of the Democratic Party’s ideology - punishing those individuals and companies that are successful and ironically, pay inordinate amounts of taxes to begin with.
In contrast, what has Government Motors (GM), a government and union favorite and perennial loser, done for us lately?
How about cost the American taxpayer tens of billions of dollars that we will never see again. A failed company on life support (thanks to Federal government) that should have been allowed to fail and close or markedly downsize that is persistently sucking out rather than contributing tax dollars.
The editorial below places this deception into proper perspective. We will add one more element. Though not entirely linear, if Exxon Mobil had produced only one fifth the amount of oil that it actually did, its profit would have been only be around $2 billion – not so excessive sounding. However, this would have also translated into a higher cost of a gallon of gas (due to supply and demand issues) and its tax “contribution” to our government would have been billions of dollars lower.
Seen And Obscene
Investor’s Business Daily 04/28/2011
Earnings: A few oil firms post what some call outrageous profits. How long before the uninformed and envious demand these companies pay a windfall profits tax?
Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the U.S., reported Thursday a first-quarter profit of $10.65 billion, or $2.14 a share, up 61% from a strong year-earlier period. Royal Dutch Shell came in at $8.78 billion, or $1.76 a share, up 68%. And on Friday, Chevron is expected to post a 27% increase in earnings to $5.69 billion, or $3 a share.
Speaking for the anti-capitalist, anti-corporate wing of his party (it's a big wing), Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., called Exxon's profits "obscene" and claimed that "Big Oil" is "robbing" the middle class.
Two days earlier, ABC's Jonathan Karl displayed the bias widely found in his profession when he, too, asked if there is something "obscene" about high oil and gas profits "when Americans are struggling just to fill up the tank."
While billions in profits might seem a little much, let's take a look at the context.
Exxon earned $10.65 billion on $114 billion in revenue. Shell's $8.78 billion profit came on $114.84 billion in revenue. Chevron's expected top line of $66.62 billion will likely yield a bottom line of $5.69 billion. These are not outsize margins — roughly 9% after taxes in the case of Exxon, less than 5% for Shell and 8.5% for Chevron.
In comparison, Apple made $6 billion on revenue of $24.7 billion, a profit margin of almost 25% in the first quarter. Google's profit margin for the same period was nearly 27%. Too high-tech for you? McDonald's makes 20 cents on the dollar. Where is the outrage over their profits? Aren't they committing robbery too?
Also lost in the rush to demonize oil companies is historical context. What some would say are large profits simply aren't inevitable. The oil industry has gone through periods of low profits before and will again.
Further, there's a (probably willful) misreading on the left and in the media of oil company profits. They aren't squandered by rich executives but paid to investors — some of them Democrats — and plowed back into producing more energy. If profits are taxed more, investors are hurt, as are consumers who pay higher prices due to energy scarcity caused by curtailed development.
"Obscene" profits? A need for punitive taxes on oil companies? The facts show the Democrats and the media (but we repeat ourselves) are wrong on both counts.
Obama is an enemy of the American middle class. This is not partisan rhetoric or a visceral reaction but instead a position by design.
By Obama himself.
Obama is an irrefutable socialist (and worse) who is quite comfortable surrounding himself with other socialists and communists (Van Jones, et al). Part of his ideological position is supporting and fighting for the underclass at the expense of the middle class.
This is a basic tenet of communism as elucidated below.
Of course, this is the antithesis of our capitalist free market system which is based on productive labor rather than wealth transfer facilitated by a monolithic omnipotent central government which is Obama’s ideal.
Obama's War on the Middle Class
Jeffrey Folks March 23, 2011
Whenever he is in campaign mode, President Obama goes to great lengths to remind voters that he is "struggling to defend the middle class." As he did in January 2010, Obama speaks of the middle class as "under assault" (by whom he does not specify). In his Labor Day radio address of 2010, he spoke of his "commitment to the middle class." As evidence of this commitment, Obama established a "Middle Class Task Force" early in his presidency chaired by Vice-President Biden. With Biden in charge, why worry?
It should be obvious that Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party are not struggling to defend the middle class. Most of the time they are struggling to disenfranchise it by ignoring the basic rights of human liberty and of property that are guaranteed under our Constitution.
The 18% real rate of unemployment during Obama's first two years in office has not done much for the middle class. At the same time, there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class to the underclass. ObamaCare, financial services reform, mortgage reform, education reform, tax reform: in all of these areas, the administration's efforts have been to create and expand services for the poor at the expense of the middle class.
Whether it is the free health care promised to tens of millions of new Medicaid recipients or mortgage principle reductions ("cramdowns") promoted at every turn by his Justice Department, Obama acts like a political general in the class war -- the war of the government services-dependent poor and unionized public sector against the middle class. Among the first acts of his administration were the expansion "making work pay" and child credit benefits: welfare of the sort that had been trimmed by the GOP Congresses of the 1990s.
Whether it is benefits for the underclass or more power for public sector unions, Obama is intent on cementing power based on the loyal support of the underclass and unionized labor. But to complete the task, he must deceive the middle classes for a bit longer by appearing to move to the center. The independent middle class voter, the very class of citizen that is most endangered by his presidency, is key to his reelection. In order to win reelection, he needs to convince them that he is safe.
But nothing Obama has done has benefited the middle class. That much should be clear just from what is happening with consumers' pocketbooks.
The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report on consumer prices is a telling indication of the effects of Obama's policies on the middle class. During the past 12 months, gas prices are up nearly 20%. While global markets largely determine oil prices, Obama's assault on drilling and his weak-dollar policy have not helped things. Had the President pursued a pro-drilling policy and defended the dollar, gas prices would have been substantially lower. Even at this late date, if the administration were to signal support for expanded drilling, world energy markets would respond by lowering the price of oil, thus lowering the price the middle class pays at the pump.
Gas prices hit the middle class disproportionately hard. Bill Gates spends an infinitesimal portion of his earnings on energy bills, and the urban underclass pay little. But the middle class, most of whom commute some distance to work, are shelling out a great deal more each month. The same for food prices, which are up substantially above the "core rate" of inflation. The underclass benefit from increased food stamp subsidies; Gates has probably never shopped. It is the middle class that bears all the burdens under Obama.
The passage of ObamaCare was supposed to lower the cost of health care for practically all Americans. This, in fact, was one of the main rationales for its adoption. Again and again, Obama promised that his health care reform bill would lower the cost of health care -- by $100 billion (he likes big round numbers, for some reason), by $200 billion, by $500 billion over the next ten years.
But since ObamaCare was passed, health care costs for the middle class are way up. Over the past 12 months the cost of private medical insurance, where it can be purchased at all, is up by as much as 59%. Hospital costs are up 6%, nearly three times the rate of core inflation. The cost of the most widely prescribed drugs has increased well above the rate of inflation, driven up by the prospect of future government regulation. None of this has helped the middle class. It is, in fact, part and parcel of a calculated transfer of wealth from the middle class to the underclass.
It's not just energy and health care. Other prices that are influenced by government policy have gone up disproportionately to those in the less regulated market. Educational expenses are up 4%, twice the rate of core inflation. Again, it is the middle class that has been hit. College tuition, private school tuition, and child care -- these costs impact the middle class, not the Warren Buffets of the world, and not the underclass who receive full "need based" scholarships, magnet school preferences, and subsidized child care.
It does not help that, as announced Monday, sales of previously owned homes fell in February to their worst level in nine years. Middle-class homeowners who are now under water on their loans will have to wait a bit longer to break even. Boomers eyeing a place in the sun are going to have a hard time selling their current home before moving.
As Obama understands all too well, one of the hallmarks of all socialist countries is the absence of an independent middle class. From the Bolshevik experiment in Russia to socialist Venezuela today, it is necessary for communist leaders to eliminate that class of citizens who are not dependent on government for their welfare.
Political theorists from Aristotle to Locke understood that a truly independent and prosperous middle class was essential to the collective well-being of any society. The middle class has always, in every society, been characterized by qualities of social restraint and economic realism -- a shrewd and skeptical conservatism that serves to restrain the grandiose plans of utopian revolutionaries and embittered reactionaries alike.
Throughout its history American society in particular has been the beneficiary of an aspiring middle class whose efforts have created the world's greatest democracy. It is an ominous sign that the political left, with the loyal support of more than a third of our population, is intent on its destruction.
The following is a video of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivering the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union Address. In it, he lucidly and thoroughly details the dire financial situation which this country is in right now, the unthinkable consequences if no or inadequate actions are taken, and what he deems to be the most prudent courses of action that we must take in order to reverse course and bring our financial house back to solid footing and principles.
Obama, the apotheosis of narcissism, elitism and arrogance, continues to sing praises of his accomplishments. You would think that we were in the midst of a relatively healthy growing economy.
Is he still smoking pot? Or is it permanent brain damage resulting from it?
Unfortunately, the data and tens of millions of Americans irrefutably contradict his apocryphal claims. In fact, as noted below, the 14 straight months of the jobless rate exceeding 9.5% is the longest stretch since the Great Depression – and there is no good news yet in site...
That is, except for the House of Representatives soon to be firmly under Republican control.
We need to add more to the House and elect many more Republicans to the Senate in 2012 to as well as the White House. Only then do we have a great chance for unleashing the growth potential of a capitalistic system.
President Obama's Hollow Jobs Boast
Investor’s Business Daily 11/02/2010
Economy: A closer look at federal data shows that the employment picture is grimmer than the president paints it. In fact, private-sector job growth, despite his claims, is trending in the wrong direction.
In a last-minute attempt to polish Democrats' resume going into the midterm election, Obama boasted that they had "stabilized" the economy. "An economy that was shrinking is now growing," he said on Jon Stewart's show. "We've got nine months of consecutive private-sector job growth."
While true, private-sector job gains are tiny when compared with past recoveries, which churned out millions of new jobs. More worrisome, private job growth peaked at 241,000 in April and has rolled over precipitously. Gains in private payrolls plunged 31% to 64,000 in September from 93,000 in August, when they fell 21% from the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. September's gain, in fact, was the weakest since June.
Obama can no longer blame the Bush recession. After the steepest drop in private payrolls on record, the private sector stopped shedding jobs in January. On Obama's watch, however, the trend is turning south again. Companies are churning out fewer and fewer new jobs, and the trend line is threatening to return to negative territory.
The deceleration in private-sector job growth is tarnishing the one minor bright spot for the economy that Obama can point to. "We're making progress, step by step, inch by inch, day by day," Obama reassured voters on Stewart's show. Correction: We were making progress.
Job scarcity is putting more pressure on the housing market. The number of homeowners missing payments and falling into foreclosure has risen along with unemployment. More than 2.3 million homes have been repossessed by lenders since the recession began in December 2007. Analysts say that number could climb as high as 10 million over the next three years if the jobs picture doesn't improve.
The jobless rate has topped 9.5% for 14 straight months — the longest stretch since the Great Depression. Most economists expect it to stay there through 2011 and not drop to a historically normal 5.5%-6.0% until at least 2018 — several years later than previously thought.
"Inch by inch" progress is not good enough. Economic growth would have to average at least 5% for a whole year to lower the unemployment rate by 1 percentage point. Yet growth in the Obama recovery is averaging less than 2% — not nearly enough to create new jobs at a pace that will lower the jobless rate and curb foreclosures.
Normally housing leads the way out of recession. Now it may be leading the way back down. And more foreclosures mean fewer future homebuyers, since foreclosures stay on credit reports for several years.
Thanks to Obama's policies, the jobs market is a basket case. If Friday's jobs report confirms the downtrend in private-sector jobs, it will be a validation of Tuesday's election results and a repudiation of Obama's economic agenda.
Obama has shown a relentless disdain for capitalism throughout his Presidency and will grab every opportunity to attack the system. Capitalism is an economic system that has benefited hundreds of millions or billions of people over time not just financially but also as regards freedoms and even life span.
We must preserve Capitalism at all costs.
Just let's get rid of Obama!
Emancipation From What...Capitalism?
Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein First Trust Oct. 4, 2010
“In the year 1000, the average infant could expect to live about 24 years. A third died in the first year of life. Hunger and epidemic disease ravaged the survivors. By 1820, life expectation had risen to 36 years in the west, with only marginal improvement elsewhere. After 1820, world development became much more dynamic. By 2003, income per head had risen nearly ten-fold, population six-fold. Per capita income rose by 1.2 per cent a year: 24 times as fast as in 1000-1820. Life expectation increased to 76 years in the west and 63 in the rest of the world.” Angus Maddison, Contours of the World Economy.
To paraphrase - for 1800 years, progress was virtually non-existent; then it accelerated sharply. It takes a severe case of denial for someone to ignore these lessons of history. What they show is that when freedom prevails, the ingenuity and inventiveness of people creates incredible wealth. This is the true source of improvement in the human condition.
The US Constitution was crucial in the process of freedom. It established a new country with protected property rights. The Declaration of Independence declared the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It also declared that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….”
Yes, the US has its history with slavery and women’s suffrage, but the Civil War, and 13th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution fixed those wrongs. It wasn’t easy, but the system worked. No system of social and economic organization has done more to lift living standards than the US system of “free market capitalism.” No system of governance has improved the lives of so many people.
So, why is this system under attack? Have we uncovered problems with free market capitalism that are the equivalent of slavery and women’s suffrage? President Obama thinks so. In a speech last week, he called belief in capitalism “blind faith.” He said this philosophy, of letting people “fend for themselves” has “failed.” He added that “people are frustrated, they’re anxious, they’re scared about the future. [But] now is not the time to quit....We’ve been through worse.... It took time to free the slaves. It took time for women to get the vote.”
This is the Progressive’s mantra – “Capitalism is unjust, unfair...A new system must be put in its place and this takes time.” There is only one problem with this logic. It’s not really progress and it has never, ever worked. Today’s progressives are the ones that ask for blind faith. They want people to believe that they have finally figured out how to do it right
But this is just wishful thinking. Every economic system, no matter how it is described, is a system that distributes resources among competing interests. In a Progressive system, government officials control this process. In a free market system, resources flow to those who use them best to improve the lives of others. The market votes every day on these products and services and the successful ones are given more resources. To prove how fluid this system is, more businesses fail each year than succeed.
This is not true of government. Once started, government programs rarely fail. The system perpetuates them with more money and more resources. The waste increases over time until it becomes so overwhelming that the entire system fails. The Roman Empire, the Soviet Union, Greece, California and Illinois are all the evidence needed.
The real problem with the economy these days it that we have moved too far away from free market capitalism. As government spending has increased, so has unemployment. This is not a mystery; the bigger the government, the smaller the private sector and the less dynamic the economy. If there is any emancipation needed these days it’s from the government, not from capitalism.
The ascendancy of the Tea Parties may portend another revolution in America: one that will reset our priorities, laws and government philosophies back to what this nation was founded on.
A smaller, minimally intrusive, limited and frugal government.
Reaping benefits from honest, “hard” work - and keeping them.
Incentives to be productive.
Low and limited taxation.
That will be great news for the taxpayer, business and most Americans – except those who feel entitled and are rewarded despite their indolence.
Tea Party Rise Will Be Bullish For Capitalism
Lawrence Kudlow 09/17/2010
This past week I gave a speech to a group of investors. The organizer of the event e-mailed me the night before, asking that I please try to be optimistic.
Well, that's my usual habitat. But optimism has been hard for me this year.
Our muddle-through economy and lackluster stock market, challenged by so many taxing, spending and regulating problems coming out of Washington, are the reasons.
In fact, until recently, I've been advising people to take profits in the stock market, rather than buy and hold. You should keep your money before the Obama IRS takes it from you.
But following the Tea Party primary victories in Delaware, New York and New Hampshire last week, I'm once again getting energized.
Free-market capitalism is on the comeback trail. That's one of the key Tea Party messages.
And make no mistake about it: The free-market power of the Tea Party political revolt is totally bullish for stocks and the economy.
In short, this is a revolution.
The political elites in both parties don't get it. Nor do the mainstream media. But the Tea Party movement is stopping Obamanomics dead in its tracks. And it will overturn the Keynesian big-government planning effort now in full force in our nation's capital.
The Tea Parties is Reaganism reincarnate, and then some.
It's all there in the Contract from America: limited government, individual liberty, economic freedom. Defund ObamaCare.
No tax-and-nationalize energy scheme. Stop the tax hikes and move to a flat-tax system. No special favors and subsidies.
No crony capitalism.
Oh, and let me underscore the Tea Party revolt against runaway government spending and debt creation.
No TARP. No stimulus. No ObamaCare. No Bailout Nation for GM, Fannie, Freddie and AIG. Instead of federal spending running up to 25, 26, or 27% of GDP, look for our new Tea Party representatives to move it back to 20% of the economy, or even less.
An End To Subsidies?
A great story in Friday's Wall Street Journal was called "Tea Party's Rise Gives Business Pause."
The thrust is that big businesses and their K Street lobbyists are worried that special tax breaks and subsidies for Wall Street, timber, fast food, road building, energy, farming, autos (such as cash for clunkers for the car lobby) and housing (including homebuyer tax credits for the Realtor and homebuilder lobbies) will be blown away by the new Tea Party representatives.
Well, they should be worried.
Quoted in the article, Raul Labrador, the Tea Party-backed House candidate from Idaho, says he opposes all government programs that help one segment of business over another.
"I'm against all of them," he told the Journal. "I don't think the government should be picking winners and losers. We should have taxes low for everybody, and not just for a particular industry or segment."
In other words, this is not going to be your father's Congress.
Nor is it going to be your father's Republican Party. The party of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush is about to be totally transformed.
Constitutional spending limits. Low flat-tax rates. Slam-downs on budget baselines. Pitchforks maybe, but not pork.
A few months ago I wrote about the emergence of a new free-market nucleus, motivated by Tea Party ideals, in the Republican caucus of the Senate. That nucleus is set to grow. And that's exactly why I'm getting more optimistic.
The new blood includes Carly Fiorina from California, Ken Buck from Colorado, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, Rand Paul from Kentucky, John Boozman from Arkansas, Mike Lee from Utah, Marco Rubio from Florida, Joe Miller from Alaska, Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, John Raese from West Virginia and Linda McMahon from Connecticut. And who knows, maybe even Christine O'Donnell from Delaware.
They will join free-market Senate stalwarts like Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, John Thune, Jon Kyl, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.
Again, this will not be your father's Republican Senate.
This is a new transformational breed. This is a free-market revolution powered by the Tea Party.
Along with a likely Republican takeover in the House, we could be looking at a free-market Congress, something I never dreamed possible.
The new Tea Party breed in Washington will unleash entrepreneurship and capitalism by holding back the government tide.
In other words, folks, Tea Party economics is very bullish.
The following editorial by Wayne Allyn Root concisely captures Obama’s stratagem to transform America from a capitalist and democratic country to a communistic/socialistic one with severe abrogation of our rights and freedoms. This is all unfolding rapidly before our eyes facilitated by ruthlessly corrupt and dissembling individuals such as Obama facilitated by a complicit media, unions, ACORN and radical democrats.
If you conclude that what you Obama’s words, actions and behaviors are not in accord with rational behavior expected of someone who has the Nation’s best interests at heart, you are entirely correct.
For a clearer understanding of the whole picture, that is Obama’s previously hidden and intentionally suppressed past, we strongly recommend that you read the “Manchurian President” by Aaron Klein.
Obama is indeed trying to destroy our country from within and must be stopped before it is too late!
Obama's agenda: Overwhelm the system
Wayne Allyn Root
Rahm Emanuel cynically said, "You never want a crisis to go to waste." It is now becoming clear that the crisis he was referring to is Barack Obama's presidency.
Obama is no fool. He is not incompetent. To the contrary, he is brilliant. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is purposely overwhelming the U.S. economy to create systemic failure, economic crisis and social chaos -- thereby destroying capitalism and our country from within.
Barack Obama is my college classmate (Columbia University, class of '83). As Glenn Beck correctly predicted from day one, Obama is following the plan of Cloward & Piven, two professors at Columbia University. They outlined a plan to socialize America by overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands. Add up the clues below.
Taken individually they're alarming. Taken as a whole, it is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority that desperately needs government for survival ... and can be counted on to always vote for bigger government. Why not? They have no responsibility to pay for it.
-- Universal health care. The health care bill had very little to do with health care. It had everything to do with unionizing millions of hospital and health care workers, as well as adding 15,000 to 20,000 new IRS agents (who will join government employee unions). Obama doesn't care that giving free health care to 30 million Americans will add trillions to the national debt. What he does care about is that it cements the dependence of those 30 million voters to Democrats and big government. Who but a socialist revolutionary would pass this reckless spending bill in the middle of a depression?
-- Cap and trade. Like health care legislation having nothing to do with health care, cap and trade has nothing to do with global warming. It has everything to do with redistribution of income, government control of the economy and a criminal payoff to Obama's biggest contributors. Those powerful and wealthy unions and contributors (like GE, which owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC) can then be counted on to support everything Obama wants. They will kick-back hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Obama and the Democratic Party to keep them in power. The bonus is that all the new taxes on Americans with bigger cars, bigger homes and businesses helps Obama "spread the wealth around."
-- Make Puerto Rico a state. Why? Who's asking for a 51st state? Who's asking for millions of new welfare recipients and government entitlement addicts in the middle of a depression? Certainly not American taxpayers. But this has been Obama's plan all along. His goal is to add two new Democrat senators, five Democrat congressman and a million loyal Democratic voters who are dependent on big government.
-- Legalize 12 million illegal immigrants. Just giving these 12 million potential new citizens free health care alone could overwhelm the system and bankrupt America. But it adds 12 million reliable new Democrat voters who can be counted on to support big government. Add another few trillion dollars in welfare, aid to dependent children, food stamps, free medical, education, tax credits for the poor, and eventually Social Security.
-- Stimulus and bailouts. Where did all that money go? It went to Democrat contributors, organizations (ACORN), and unions -- including billions of dollars to save or create jobs of government employees across the country. It went to save GM and Chrysler so that their employees could keep paying union dues. It went to AIG so that Goldman Sachs could be bailed out (after giving Obama almost $1 million in contributions). A staggering $125 billion went to teachers (thereby protecting their union dues). All those public employees will vote loyally Democrat to protect their bloated salaries and pensions that are bankrupting America. The country goes broke, future generations face a bleak future, but Obama, the Democrat Party, government, and the unions grow more powerful. The ends justify the means.
-- Raise taxes on small business owners, high-income earners, and job creators. Put the entire burden on only the top 20 percent of taxpayers, redistribute the income, punish success, and reward those who did nothing to deserve it (except vote for Obama). Reagan wanted to dramatically cut taxes in order to starve the government. Obama wants to dramatically raise taxes to starve his political opposition.
With the acts outlined above, Obama and his regime have created a vast and rapidly expanding constituency of voters dependent on big government; a vast privileged class of public employees who work for big government; and a government dedicated to destroying capitalism and installing themselves as socialist rulers by overwhelming the system.
Add it up and you've got the perfect Marxist scheme -- all devised by my Columbia University college classmate Barack Obama.
Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee and serves on the Libertarian National Committee.
Obama sees America not as it was intended and how it has been the paradigm of prosperity over its first 232 years. Instead, he envisions and wants to impose a Marxist philosophy that is the antithesis of our values and work ethic. Terry Paulson assessed his mindset as "America must go beyond equal rights and responsibilities to guarantee equal outcomes and entitlement programs to ensure that".
He sums up this approach of Obama’s by noting that:
"As a result, if you work hard, save, postpone gratification, and take care of yourself and your family, you lose. Not only must you support your family; you’re “forced” to support many others."
This is, in essence, legislated servitude or legalized theft. It’s a government shakedown – and consummately repulsive.
“Give Me Individual Liberty Not Government Dependence”
Terry Paulson April 12, 2010
Dennis Prager has recently added a pearl of wisdom to his repertoire of truths—“The larger the government, the smaller the individual.” The biggest danger from President Obama’s march to bigger government rests in what this means to the grounding principles that have made America great. Will America renew its commitment to individual liberty and personal responsibility or give in to government dependence and control?
As current Tea Party demonstrators would agree, Benjamin Franklin criticized King George’s high taxes to pay for the welfare entitlements of his time, “I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act (taxes for welfare), you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on someone else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.”
Franklin preferred “responsible” caring, "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it…. Repeal that law (taxes), and you will soon see a change in their manners. Labor…will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."
Thomas Jefferson concurred, "A wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." Abraham Lincoln stressed common sense, “The worst thing you can do for those you love is the thing they could and should do for themselves.”
Our free-enterprise economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history because it encouraged work, and discouraged idleness, more than any other. Citizens have been free to pursue their American Dream based on the principle that men are created equal in their rights and their responsibilities.
President Obama finds such values outdated. America must go beyond equal rights and responsibilities to guarantee equal outcomes and entitlement programs to ensure that. As a result, if you work hard, save, postpone gratification, and take care of yourself and your family, you lose. Not only must you support your family; you’re “forced” to support many others. Americans have no trouble providing temporary help, but they expect most to bounce back and lift their own weight.
When caring for your neighbor becomes a compulsory obligation imposed by government instead of voluntary, charity turns to confiscation and freedom to achieve to involuntary servitude. To liberals, compassion seems to be defined by how many people are dependent on the government; to conservatives, it’s defined by how many people no longer need help. One promotes dependence, the other freedom, responsibility and achievement.
There is no moral or Constitutional justification for taking money honorably earned from a neighbor to pay for what some citizens can’t afford. With one half of American voters no longer paying income taxes, wealth redistribution has turned envy into legitimized confiscation.
America has always been known for its national optimism--that sense of unlimited possibility. Only a society that allows individuals to secure the rewards from applying their unique talents will ever reap the benefits of human greatness. It’s a tragedy that so many Americans today no longer believe they can realistically achieve their dreams without electing politicians who will take from other citizens to pay for what they can’t provide for themselves.
Incentives matter. You’ll never strengthen the weak by weakening and taking from the strong. Our messy but free republic works because people are free to create value instead of becoming perpetual burdens.
In the midst of a recession, Ronald Reagan said to Americans, “I’m not taking your time this evening to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”
Our commitment to individual freedom and responsibility is one of the anchors that has held our country together through our history’s worst economic storms. President Obama would be wise to reaffirm that anchor if he wants our economy to turn around with the resilience that only freedom can produce.