Tuesday’s State of the Union dress-down was another divisive and arrogant partisan lecture by a failed president. I am glad some of the Supreme Court Justices stopped coming since Obama rudely attacked them on Citizen’s United.
During the Statist of the Union speech, Joe Biden dutifully sat behind the president and clapped on cue to his liberal laundry list. The highly excitable “Plugs” Biden has not been that happy since he heard Viagra will soon go generic.
The best economist of modern times, Milton Friedman, said “a society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Ironically, Friedman was from the Chicago School of economics, which intellectual heft must battle the class-envy-driven Chicago School of Politics practiced by Professor Barack Obama.
Freedom plays to the best of us, and it is what our country was founded upon. Envy, forbidden in the Ten Commandments and also one of the Seven Deadly Sins, plays to the worst in us. Obama rails against the productive, implying their success was to the detriment of others. This is divisive and conjures up contempt. Did Google expand their free search engine to the advantage or the detriment of those who didn’t? Did Jonah Salk discover penicillin to the detriment or advantage of someone who did not?
What Obama and the Democrats do not get about business — in that they almost all come up only through the political ranks not the private sector — is that economics is not a zero sum game. One person’s success multiplies jobs and opportunity through the region. Obama thinks if Apple succeeds, they must have screwed someone over to do so. It plays to the worst of us, not the best of us.
It is easy and cheap politics to divide our country where you can keep 51 percent resenting the 49 percent so you can get elected. Obama does it well. Yet I hope Americans working hard for a living are tiring of getting taken advantage of by those Americans voting for a living.
In a recent Gallup Poll, two-thirds of Americans said the federal government is too big and powerful. Yet Obama wants to circumvent the Constitution to unilaterally make it bigger.
With 69 government handout programs tied to “means testing,” costing taxpayers about $1 trillion a year, the dependent class has little incentive to work. If they earn some money, it puts them above the income levels where they rake in all the government goodies from food, housing, healthcare to Obama-phones. Why work? You can sit at home and watch “Judge Judy” and “Dr. Phil” and make some nefarious non-reportable cash on the side and be better off.
Obama even raised Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of “the poverty line” adding 30 million to the dole by 2022, all to make his failed ObamaCare look like it insured more. Incentive not to work has never been stronger.
A school program in D.C. paid kids $6 an hour to work at summer school. It backfired on the Democrats. Once the kids got their W-2s and realized how much in taxes were taken out, they joined the Young Conservatives Club.
Obama’s latest focus-group tested pitch of “income equality” has to be called what it is: a socialist redistribution of income that grows government at the detriment of the economy.
What Obama does not say is that the top 20 percent of income earners is not a static group of monocled, top hat-clad, Monopoly guy types. It is an ever-changing group of people. What he should talk about is economic mobility, not equality.
We have just fallen out of the top 10 countries in The Index of Economic Freedom for the first time. “Economic equality” is just a code word for redistribution. The real problem is broken families, the poverty it creates and the lack of economic opportunity.
Washington has made it so that Home Depot’s Bernie Marcus, Papa John’s founder and just recently Erik Prince, ex-Navy SEAL security entrepreneur, have said they could not have started their business today. Mr. Prince, who has moved his business to Hong Kong, said “I would rather deal the vagaries of investing in Africa than in figuring out what the hell else Washington is going to do to the entrepreneur next.”
It is easy to lavish other people’s tax money on people to stay in power. It’s much harder to stand on principle and make the hard decisions that are best for the country long-term.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com