As we enter the final stretch of the presidential countdown, many are puzzled by how close the race seems to be, despite the apparent failure of Obama and his policies to restore jobs, growth and vibrance to our Nation. But wait. That may be the wrong prism.
The Obama administration???s recent unlawful administrative action of ending the ???work requirement,??? key to the success of the ???96 welfare reform law (TANF), was convincing proof that this president is seeking to win re-election by increasing the dependency voter base, turning America into a European-style welfare state with a ???culture of dependency,??? as Mitt Romney described it recently.
Common-sense citizens who believe in traditional American values have thought that Obama???s failure to bring us out of the recession with jobs and economic growth policies may be attributable to his lack of private-sector experience, realizing that neither he nor his advisors have ever run a real business, not even a candy store. But we should have listened more closely to his talk of ???change,??? and that he intended to ???transform??? America. And we should have been putting two-and-two together by watching his actions and decisions that have actually prevented and killed job creation and economic growth, and incentivized dependency. That???s the transformation he and his Saul Alinsky-trained cohorts learned in ???Rules for Radicals.???
Obama has actually needed ??? and relished ??? a stagnant, high unemployment, nearly no-growth economy in order to play his ???zero-sum??? game politics, class warfare and polarization of our electorate. He has been saying to lower-income and out-of-work Americans the only way you can get more is through government programs and largesse, but to do that we have to take more from the rich ??? higher tax rates on the 1 percent and beyond. If through proper taxing, spending and fiscal policies we had been enjoying 6-8 percent annual growth of the economy as we did in the Reagan era, everyone would be better off and there would be no justification for higher tax rates. We would be experiencing explosive revenue growth from the existing tax system ??? and could even lower rates, as Reagan did. But Obama could not ???transform??? America in the midst of an economic recovery when a ???rising tide lifts all boats.???
Uncertainty is probably the most lethal environment in which to run a business ??? or a Nation. Tax, spending and regulatory uncertainty are unique creatures of government action ??? or inaction. Obama understands this but continues the uncertainty, especially through Obamacare with its multiple tax increases and health insurance changes for businesses, families and individuals. That tells me he does not want the economy to succeed, jobs to be created or growth for our economy. Why? Because uncertainty leads to more dependency on which he is relying for reelection.
So let???s look at what Obama has done, to test the thesis that he is not a failed president (in his and the left???s eye) but that he is transforming America into a European-style dependency society. Do the facts and the evidence support the notion that Obama is undermining America and doing it willfully and by design?
- Unemployment Insurance ??? It was intended and traditionally served as a ???safety net??? for a few weeks of support between jobs. It was expanded to two years by Obama and has become a deterrent to job choice/selection, inducing dependency rather than overcoming it. Obama???s former economic guru, Lawrence Summers, has acknowledged that extended unemployment ???insurance??? dis-incentivizes the search for work.
- Food Stamps ??? Federal food stamp costs have doubled since Obama took office. More than 46 million Americans are now receiving food stamps at a cost of $78 billion. The Obama administration has spent more than $3 million on a radio advertising campaign to solicit more food stamp users and dependents.
- Social Security Disabled ??? More workers (3.1 million) have applied for disability since June 2009 than there have been jobs created (2.6 million) since that time. During a recent three-month period, nearly 250,000 new people qualified for (permanent or semi-permanent) disability benefits, while only 225,000 found new jobs.
- Student Loans ??? This is a fast-growing entitlement, largely middle-class in nature, trapping huge numbers of middle-class students into the dependency ambit. Interest rate reductions simply set things up for Obama to forgive these loans, waving a magic wand on kids with $60,000-$120,000 of loans or more. I would not be surprised if Obama sought to forgive all or part of these loans to capture the young voter who has become disillusioned by Obama because they can???t find jobs.
- Cash–Based Welfare Payments ??? TANF reforms in the ???96 Act transformed welfare into workfare. In the decade following TANF???s enactment, welfare rolls nationally fell by two-thirds with massive taxpayer savings, while the truly needy saw their benefits increase. Quietly, and without fanfare, Obama started his presidency ??? on the first day ??? relaxing the work rules and destroying the state-based reforms. He sought a return of federal, public-employee-dues paying union members as the directors of welfare. The recent formal waiver of the work requirement is simply the culmination of Obama???s dependency binge, adding untold new recipients to the welfare rolls.
- Medicaid Expansion Under Obamacare ??? Perhaps the most egregious expansion of dependency under Obama is Medicaid: Eleven million new people have been added, with 500,000 just triggered by Obamacare as five states have recently enrolled. This is a direct threat to current Medicare recipients who will be competing for doctor and hospital care.
- Obama???s Payroll (FICA) Tax ???Holidays??? ??? Obama has launched and perpetuated elimination of all or part of a worker???s contribution to Social Security. He has sold it as temporary and justified it as an offset to the great earnings of the ???wealthy??? and their failure to pay ???their fair share.??? Clearly, this will propel many working people to perpetuate this ??? what is in reality ??? a slight increase in their weekly/biweekly paycheck. With FICA being virtually the only federal tax paid by half of United States workers, who pay no federal income tax, Obama is helping to create yet another dependency even for those gainfully employed.
- Obama Has Expanded the Categories and Numbers of the Gainfully Employed that are Dependent on Washington ??? Government employees at the federal, state, local and school district level, especially those who pay dues to public-employee unions, have received billions from ???stimulus??? efforts, while their dues feed the political coffers of Obama and his allies. Green energy companies and jobs are wholly dependent on federal subsidies and largesse which continues to flow despite the bankruptcy of Solyndra and others. United Auto Workers members and their union were saved by Obama???s Detroit bailout when Obama took billions from GM bondholders, who had a clear legal priority claim to the bankruptcy proceeds.
- Obama Energy Policies and the Price of Gasoline at the Pump May Be the Most Telling of All His Dependency Efforts. Killing the Canadian Keystone pipeline was the most visible concession Obama has made to his powerful campaign-funds-rich environmental political and government-dependent ???green??? energy base. But it was far more than that ??? it was a job-killing (therefore dependency-increasing) act which sent a number of destructive dependency signals which he has reinforced by dramatically slowing drilling approvals in the Gulf and along the continental shelf and putting federal lands off limits to energy exploration and production.
Energy prices downstream (especially oil), because energy is a ???futures??? game, are dependent on current actions and policies. If Obama did not attack coal, and he relaxed his attitude on oil and gas ???fracking??? activities, foreign oil resource owners would respond with lower prices, expecting dramatically increased domestic US supplies with which they would have to compete. Obama is smart enough to know this but prefers higher gasoline prices and home heating/air conditioning bills, because that makes government transportation and government home energy price subsidies more in demand. More dependency is the result.
And these represent just the tip of the iceberg of the aspects of dependency Obama has created in America, and which, if re-elected, he would vastly expand in a second term. That would give him the time and power to complete the ???transformation??? of America he is pursuing.
Edward Klein, author of the newly-published book, ???The Amateur??? (Obama in the White House) observed: ???I concluded that Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the society he was elected to lead. Which is why he has refused to embrace American exceptionalism ??? the idea that Americans are a special people with a special destiny ??? and why he has railed at the capitalist system, demonized the wealthy, and embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement.???
Obama???s speech at Roanoke, VA, in July may be the most revealing as to his true view of America and individual enterprise when he said, ???If you???ve got a business ??? you didn???t build that. Somebody else made that happen.??? So all businesses are dependents, as well, and not the creatures of their owner-creators. They are at least ???semi-public??? in Obama???s eyes. Government is a co-owner, presumably entitled to a ???piece of the action,??? i.e., higher taxes ??? and certainly a ???share??? at the end of the line in the form of a death tax which Obama strongly endorses. This is Obama???s ultimate assault on the right to private property.
The question of this election is how deeply has dependency been ingrained in the American voting public by Obama? Over the years, polling has shown that even those voters who receive significant government support in the form of Social Security, health care, Veterans??? benefits, etc., look upon themselves first as taxpayers and secondly as tax recipients/government dependents. This November will tell us whether that has changed and Obama???s transformation of America has already occurred.