Obama Scolds Nation: You’ve Gotten Soft

“The way I think about it is, you know, this is, uh, you know, a great, uh, great country that had gotten a little soft, and you know, we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last, uh, couple of decades. We need to get back on track.” — President Barack Obama.

The gall is breathtaking, even from a man who as a presidential candidate said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

This from a President who, in chastising the rich, said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

This from a man who, during the brief time he actually worked in the private sector, represented a black woman who accused a bank of redlining her out of a loan. The proximate cause of the housing bubble and meltdown is the notion that the “underrepresented” deserve a home, whether or not they qualified under traditional lending criteria.

This from a man who told a Toledo plumber that government should “spread the wealth around” by taxing “the rich” and giving the money to others, because “it’s good for everybody.”

This from a man who blasts any suggestion that young people just might be capable of investing a portion of their Social Security contribution into an account that they manage. Former Congresswoman and vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, in opposing the idea, fretted for those who lack “the knowledge and the wherewithal” to handle the responsibility.

This from a flip-flopper who initially opposed the 1996 welfare reform — legislation that resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the welfare rolls, and without a corresponding increase in teen pregnancy. Then-state Sen. Obama called President Bill Clinton’s support of the federal bill “disturbing,” and a year later — on the Illinois state Senate floor — he said, “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation.” A decade later, when presidential candidate Obama was asked if he would have signed or vetoed the ’96 reform bill, he repeatedly dodged the question, insisting that he looked to the next 10 years, not the past 10 years. Then his campaign began running ads touting the reduction of welfare cases made possible by the 1996 reforms.

This from a man who blames corporations for “shipping jobs overseas,” yet shows no concern for the high corporate tax rates — rates that would be unnecessary were the federal government to actually stick to the handful of duties permitted by the Constitution.

This from a man who thinks it’s the government’s job to “invest” in “green jobs of the future” because the private sector cannot be trusted to take risks.

To the extent America has gotten “soft,” Obama can’t mean working hours. The average American works longer hours than other people in the industrialized world, including the Japanese, the Germans and the British.

Nor does Obama, by “soft,” mean the growing and unsustainable reliance on government. In 1900, government, at all three levels — federal, state and local — took about 10 percent of the American workers’ pay. Today, if one assigns a price to unfunded federal mandates imposed on the states, government’s take approaches 50 percent. Obama and his party encourage government growth and expect Americans to depend on it for health, welfare and retirement. These are, they tell us, “human rights.”

So, let’s recap the President’s playbook.

Step one: Pursue a three-year course of extracting higher taxes; mandating costly new regulations, not least of which — in ObamaCare — represents a breathtaking expansion of federal power; and pass an FDR-like nearly trillion-dollar “stimulus” package.

Step two: Enact “look, we’ve done something!” regulations to “rein in Wall Street greed” — regulations that have nothing to do with the Freddie/Fannie/Community Reinvestment Act housing meltdown. Sign “credit card reform” laws that prevent bankers from raising fees on “the defenseless.” Never mind that banks roll their eyes and find other ways of keeping profits up. Funny how these bankers and other businesspeople seem not to consider their actions crooked. They think they operate in a competitive marketplace and owe a fiduciary obligation to shareholders to maximize shareholder return.

Step three: Let the investment community know that — because they represent the enemy — they’re a piggy bank from which government can extract more and more without, of course, eroding the business community’s willingness to risk capital. Expect the “greedy,” “taxed-too-lightly” business community to absorb the higher taxes and costly regulation — and yet continue to make the same hiring and investment decisions even as the White House vows to impose even more regulations and raise taxes even higher.

Step four: After succeeding in undermining economic growth through left-wing, redistributionist, government-can-capably-invest-in-green-jobs-of-the-future policies, accuse the business community of engaging in risk avoidance. Hammer them for “sitting” on “$2 trillion” in money. Tell them they should “get off the sidelines and expand. … Get in the game.”

Step five: Finally, accuse the American people of failing (SET ITAL) him, (END ITAL) not the other way around.

We end with another quote from then-newly elected Barack Obama: “I will be held accountable. … If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com.

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