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Obama's State Of The Union Address and Income Inequality

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Obama's State Of The Union Address and Income Inequality
 
 

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Obama's State Of The Union Address and Income Inequality

…And the trees are all kept equal

By hatchet, axe, and saw.

Rush—“The Trees,” Hemispheres

President Barack Obama was right when he said, “The long-term unemployed are not lazy. They’re not lacking in motivation. They’re coping with the aftermath of the worst economic crisis in generations.”

He should know, his policies prolong the situation.

From a promised minimum wage increase, to destabilization of the health care system,  to an energy policy encapsulated by “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” no part of the Obama vision is about making America freer and richer.

The president will double down on big government during the State of the Union Address. He will lament “income inequality” and a “wealth gap” aggravated by government itself, and advocate greater dependence on the state as a remedy.

Obama heads an army of taxpayer funded bureaucrats who pile regulations on top of regulations.  They wrapped up 2013 with 3,659 rules embedded in 80,462  Federal Register  pages.

It’s gotten worse since Las Vegas resort executive Steve Wynn fretted that Washington is “the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it.”

That’s mild; ninety-one million Americans are not even in the labor force.

Washington’s unreality has become offensive on a personal level, almost an affront to America itself. Washington is booming at taxpayer expense, the nation’s richest region. Thousands of comfortable bureaucrats live in million-dollar homes; but what does your house look like?

The pretend “income inequality” agenda is not about lifting up the poor, but disparaging the able; the same able capable of hiring.

A class warfare ethos will not inspire them to take entrepreneurial risks.

The media salutes, though, with its sycophantic headlines like the Washington Post’s, “Obama To Focus On Income Inequality.”

The new Rolling Stone article advocating outright a planned socialist economy captures how saturated the culture is with collectivism.

So it was refreshing when the Altantic blew the whistle and noted how an income inequality agenda pretty much entirely misses the point with respect to fighting poverty.

In a free society, attacking income inequality is a vicious public policy goal. Its anti-freedom ends are transparent, as is the power lust motivating such an agenda.

Yet, the State of the Union Address will track familiar left-wing talking points.

Robert Reich called income inequality “a threat to our way of life,” and the Denver Post dutifully proclaimed, “His antidotes include raising the minimum wage, boosting public spending on education and infrastructure and raising taxes on the highest earners.”

It’s always the same “solution”: more government power. Never a pro-freedom agenda of tax and regulatory liberalization.

Incomes will never be equal nor should they be; there is a difference between necessities and luxuries, of course, but both represent wealth, and both become more affordable the freer the society.

New technologies propagate faster than ever, necessities become cheaper in terms of hours of labor they cost. If you follow the “prepper” culture at all, 2000 calories a day can be had cheaper than ever.

As societies become wealthier and healthier, the income gap should grow, even while those at the “bottom” rung obtain ever more luxuries formerly available only at the top.

The accompanying pic is my grandpa Crews. Until the mid-1980’s the family lived in that little four-room house you see; there was no air conditioning, and no toilet. There was an outhouse.

Bathing was a pan of water with a bar of soap and a rag, carried from the one sink in the kitchen to the bedroom to wipe off.

Many in this country are just two or three generations from sharecroppers, or are immigrants or embody other bootstrap stories.

Passage of a time plus cynical politics makes people forget the culture that admired others’ success.

Today, 100 million receive aid from at least one of over 80 means tested cash, food, housing and medical welfare programs according to the Heritage Foundation:

[T]he typical American living below the poverty level in 2013 lives in a house or apartment that is in good repair, equipped with air conditioning and cable TV. His home is larger than the home of the average nonpoor French, German or English man. He has a car, multiple color TVs and a DVD player. More than half the poor have computers and a third have wide, flat-screen TVs. The overwhelming majority of poor Americans are not undernourished.

Many of our elders grew up without these things. They often never regarded themselves as poor (but were). Now that they have enjoyed some success, they help provide material comforts to others unrelated to them.

That is success, and actually amazing in a way. Americans buy for the poor the Netflix they never had.

Then along come politicians exploit envy and the lack of context. Incomes aren’t equal but America has always been about upward mobility. And, upward mobility hasn’t declined; Americans at the “bottom” still rise.

During debate over the extension of unemployment benefits, Obama said, “denying families that security is just plain cruel. We’re a better country than that. We don’t abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough – we keep the faith with them until they start that new job.”

One can debate unemployment benefits, but the true cruelty is a leftist political philosophy set against wealth and job creation.

“Abandoning our fellow Americans” is precisely what Obama does, not those he blames. Does he know where jobs come from?

For all the attention the State of the Union Address will bestow on income inequality, wealth gaps are worse in planned economies, all of which have vastly lower GDPs than America. Good luck with upward mobility in such places.

Our economy is increasingly a planned one; So if you really like your income inequality, you can keep it.

Source: Forbes

 

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