By Lowell Ponte, Special for USDR
In his January 20th “State of the Union” speech, President Barack Obama recalled his campaign promise to “rebuild our economy on a new foundation.”
He offered few specifics Tuesday night, promising instead to “in two weeks…send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan.”
In previous years he had spoken of his plan to “fundamentally transform” the United States, and to Joe the Plumber of his belief that America works best when we “spread the wealth around.”
White House media allies reported that Mr. Obama has been planning to increase Federal expenditures by at least 7 percent, despite a national deficit that has grown by an astonishing $7.5 Trillion since he became President in 2009.
As with Obamacare, “Doc Barack” apparently still believes in the collectivist Progressive notion that government can create health, wealth and happiness by prescribing ever-greater doses of the hallucinatory, addictive drugs of taxing, spending and borrowing.
Most Progressives scoff at those who believe in God, yet they themselves believe with dogmatic fervor in Santa Claus – in the idea that Uncle Santa government has an infinite bag of “free” goodies that can be given away to make society more equal while buying the votes of the beneficiaries for Mr. Obama’s political party.
The New York Times predicted that Mr. Obama plans to cut taxes for poor and middle class Americans by $175 Billion over the next decade, while at the same time increases taxes on more successful Americans by $320 Billion.
This “wealth” transfer from soaking the rich would be used to provide a host of Big Government goodies, from free community college to child care and guaranteed sick leave, as President Obama was promising during his State of the Union speech.
This money would be clawed from the rich, reported Politico, through a variety of taxes – including a much heavier capital gains tax, a restriction on how much the successful could save in tax-preferred retirement accounts, an increased “death tax” to grab a much bigger piece of what the rich leave to their own children, and a hefty tax on what America’s 100 biggest banks borrow.
Craig R. Smith and I discuss the various ways government is already using our banks to enrich itself in our book Don’t Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking.
Perhaps the deepest problem with democracy is that sound economics makes for unpopular politics, and popular politics leads to lousy, self-destructive economics. As Benjamin Franklin said: “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Today 49.5 percent of American households have at least one person living there who gets a government check. Unless this trend somehow reverses, the American republic’s elections will simply become bidding wars that promise the voters free goodies.
Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein explained where this leads with an acronym – TANSTAAFL, the first letters of the phrase “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” Someone must pay the price of government giving away all these supposedly free goodies.
In Mr. Obama’s Progressive New Foundation for society, the “payer” will be his hated wealthy, whose very success defies the perfect equality of the collectivized, government-dependent masses that Nanny Statist superior Progressives like Obama see themselves as destined to rule.
In a 2008 debate, Mr. Obama said he favored raising the capital gains rate, even if this meant less revenue for the government, “for purposes of fairness.” He already presides over the highest corporate rate of all advanced nations and wants to raise this rate even higher.
America’s Founders were trying to create a very different society of freedom, including individual and economic freedom in which those who worked harder or smarter could keep the money they earned. Many fled nations where government “redistributed” the wealth to come here in search of liberty and opportunity. Now those like Mr. Obama are turning America into the kind of oppressive country our ancestors fled.
It should not surprise us that the largest number of people in a recent Pew Research Center study, asked to use one word to describe President Obama, chose the word “incompetent.”
A radical community organizer steeped in the tactics of divide-and-conquer class warfare, Mr. Obama has never run a company or met a payroll. Like most Progressive politicians, he is a collectivist ideologue who clearly does not understand how the real marketplace works.
President Obama, for example, speaks of redistributing wealth. In fact, his anti-business politics of envy (forbidden in the Ten Commandments as “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ox nor thy neighbor’s ass….nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”) may pretend to confiscate wealth, but what it really transfers into the hands of greedy politicians is capital.
Capital is the green energy invested by those with business skills to create new companies, products and jobs. Those are the things President Obama has been destroying with his anti-business policies. And that is why our economy and wages are largely stagnant. That is why real unemployment tops 90 million in our economy, including one in five working-age men who have given up seeking work and hence are uncounted in unemployment statistics. Why work when, e.g., the welfare state in Hawaii will provide you tax-free money equivalent to the after-tax income of someone who works all day to earn $60,000 a year.
Nearly every claim in President Obama’s State of the Union speech reflected the unreality of his Progressive ideas.
He urged employers to hire a military veteran, hoping we have forgotten that in recent months his Pentagon was firing our soldiers with pink slips handed to them on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
He boasted that “Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined.” Yes, because these other nations have adopted Progressive economic policies like Mr. Obama’s that have driven them into chronic double-digit unemployment. Because of his policies threatening employers, we have produced jobs, although most are hamburger-flipper, low-wage jobs that do not give those holding them the income or credit needed to buy a home.
President Obama boasted that “America is number one in oil and gas” production, a good thing because without this we would be in full recession. This has happened, however, not because of Mr. Obama but in spite of him.
A 2014 nonpartisan Congressional Research Service analysis found that from his becoming President in 2009 to 2013, oil production on Federal lands fell by 6 percent….but increased by 61 percent on state and private lands Mr. Obama did not control.
Under Mr. Obama and the radical environmental regulators in his Administration, the production of a cleaner fuel, natural gas, declined by 28 percent on Federal lands….but increased by 33 percent on non-Federal lands beyond his ideological regulatory choke hold.
And even now, President Obama continues to block the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada, the construction of which could provide 42,000 high-paying – and in many cases union – jobs.
The members of Congress of both parties listening to Mr. Obama’s speech were fully aware that every claim he made reflected a similar distortion of facts, and a similar lack of any willingness to reach honest compromise for the good of our nation.
Over the decades I’ve listened to more than 50 presidential State of the Union speeches. The most memorable thing about this one was how tepid, quiet and unenthusiastic the applause from both sides of the aisle was for President Obama.
Mr. Obama delivered his speech smoothly, almost in a monotone like an aged college professor who had delivered the same tired lecture so many times that even he was bored with it.
Republican lawmakers knew that history has completely discredited Mr. Obama’s failed collectivist ideas. Even France’s socialist President Francois Hollande ended his 75 percent tax on the rich, because it was driving businesspeople and the nation’s smartest young people out of France.
Democratic lawmakers knew that Progressivism is now out of fresh ideas or solutions, and that President Obama has after six years been caught deceiving the people so often that nobody with an I.Q. of 75 or above believes him anymore.
As President Obama said, his ideas were on the November 2014 ballot. They were crushingly rejected by voters. Democrats now have their lowest number of elected lawmakers since the 1920s.
Mr. Obama and his fellow Progressives might love Euro-socialist welfare states such as France. But under the Parliamentary systems of Western Europe, a Prime Minister Obama would have been removed from office by a “no confidence” vote after the voters gave the House of Representatives to Republicans in 2010.
If Mr. Obama attempts to rule by vetoes, Executive Orders and regulatory powers, as he haughtily implied by repeatedly threatening vetoes during his speech, he could discredit the Democratic Party and lock it into minority status for a generation or more.
Cartoon: courtesy of PritchettCartoons.com