Thursday, December 19, 2013
Obama's vision of America: "America the beautiful is really America as hell"
Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal examines Obama's "inequality speech" and points out what Obama believes about America.
The president's thoughts on income inequality deserve comment for a reason other than the substance of the issue itself. The speech said a lot, a whole lot, about Mr. Obama's idea of America itself.
The speech, by my reading, was an odd wallow in presidential pessimism. Mr. Obama believes that the deck in America has been irredeemably stacked against individuals. Those are his words: "It's rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them." Before America can move forward, Mr. Obama thinks its people must be reeducated to believe they inhabit a country that is fallen and unfair.
He wonders "whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real." Life wasn't too bad after World War II, but "even in those years . . . the top 10% consistently took home about one-third of our national income." Even the Greatest Generation violated economic justice.
Mr. Obama admires the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, "when millions died without health insurance." But the postwar American achievement ended about then. "Starting in the late '70s, this social compact began to unravel." That, of course, means not only that the high-growth years of the Reagan presidency commenced the downward spiral but that the disintegration continued even during the Clinton presidency, which traditional Democrats once claimed as a plus.
"Investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed to wither." "We took on more debt financed by a juiced-up housing market. But when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left."
The U.S. economy is "profoundly unequal" and has been "since 1979, when I graduated from high school."
"The idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us." A data point: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, spending per student in all U.S. public and elementary schools since 1992 has doubled to more than $10,000. The schools have her trapped for other reasons.
He notes the trend toward inequality is global, but it "is most pronounced in our own country."
"A child born in the top 20% has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20% has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top."
How bad is it in the U.S. today? You can't begin to guess. "Statistics show that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina."
And it's getting worse! A new study shows "disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups."
For Barack Obama, 21st-century Americans live with a wolf at every door: "One study shows that more than half of Americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. Think about that." ...
The inequality speech reflects Mr. Obama's habit of burying everyone in listening distance beneath some vast, vague and unanswerable guilt. Yes, it's done out of political calculation and to distract from ObamaCare. But it's also belief. This president has a dark, reductionist view of the U.S. system in place for nearly 200 years before he graduated high school in 1979.
Nor did it all come to him in a dream. The many "studies" the speech cites have been outputted by a generation of academia's army of left-wing sociologists, economists and law students. If you want to learn why America the beautiful is really America as hell, drop by a college classroom.
|Obama's vision of America|
If this is your vision of America, what fresh hell will you create to "fundamentally change" it? What constitutional barriers would you trample to change it? What laws would you violate and what groups would you destroy? Radical reformers throughout time have seen the present through distorted lenses: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Castro and have murdered millions in their drive to "fix" "inequality" and "injustice." I pray that Obama's rule via speeches is his limit. That the Republic is not fatally damaged.