This is the history of governments,––one man does something which is to bind another. A man who cannot be acquainted with me, taxes me; looking from afar at me, ordains that a part of my labor shall go to this or that whimsical end, not as I, but as he happens to fancy. Behold the consequence. Of all debts, men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is this on government! Elsewhere they think they get their money’s worth, except for these. Hence, the less government we have, the better,––the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government, is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation.
–– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Politics”
From his 2008 campaign stop in Ohio, where Joe the Plumber quizzed the senator about his tax plan, to his 2012 State of the Union speech, where Warren Buffet’s secretary served as a prop to underscore his predation on the wealthy, Barack Hussein Obama has consistently revealed his true colors. Against all fanciful theories, he’s not a stealth Muslim born in Indonesia, not a Chicago-style gangster politician, not a warmed-over socialist, not a Kenyan anti-colonialist, not a post-ideological pragmatist. Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive.
The Great Recession occasioned a return to Robin Hood politics, spearheaded by a president who views society through the warped lens of classism: the 99% versus the 1%. Whether envy or compassion motivates him I cannot say, but it’s clear that Obama aspires to “spread the wealth around,” narrowing, if not flattening, the economic disparity between the Oracle of Omaha and his personal assistant.
Under this administration, the government attempts to steal from the rich, albeit legally, and give to the “poor,” which lulls a growing constituency to stay put, easily contented with their pottage of entitlements, rather than strive forward through industry and innovation. Entitlements don’t fall to the ground like manna from heaven. The free lunches consumed by bedraggled protestors in Zuccotti Park were paid with borrowed money––further proof of the saying popularized by Milton Friedman, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Obama has presided over the highest spending and deficits as a share of the economy since Harry Truman.
Alas, our nation’s creditors are not eternally patient. Even now, I can hear the zealous footsteps of the Chinese Shylock who will demand a pound of American flesh when we default on our debt. This Shylock won’t be mollified if the excuse for our profligate expenditures is that “I am my brother’s keeper,” a biblical expression that Obama frequently invokes and misapplies. To this excuse, China will rejoin: “The borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
The cryptic content of Obama’s “HOPE” and “CHANGE” campaign posters are now understood. He’s trying to execute a century-old project to reify the American Dream through bureaucratic administration (read: coercion) rather than individual and communal liberty. Nothing has defined Obama’s vision more clearly than his December 2011 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. Channeling the original Bull Moose (Teddy Roosevelt), who delivered a famous speech there in 1910 on progressive nationalism, Obama said: “I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.” The progressive doctrine of fairness violates our founding ideal of self-government––”Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Fairness and freedom are at loggerheads. The former requires an activist government that tries to guarantee equal outcomes through progressive taxation, economic regulations, and octopoid social-welfare programs, whereas the latter requires a decentralized government for the “little platoons” in society to create opportunities, whereby inequalities of wealth and property are inevitable conditions of life under the sun. Obama has failed America because as the government gets bigger the citizen gets smaller.
NOTE: Because 2012 marks a presidential election year, I motivated myself and a friend to evaluate the Obama presidency in 500 words. See the evaluation by Jake Meador.