Saturday, May 16, 2015

Obama on Poverty, Part II

Obama: "...I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu (referring to the poor)...they're like, 'I don't want to work, I just want a free Obama phone.'" Obama: "And so if we're going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we're going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we're going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people's impressions of what it's like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that." Wow!

First, an admission. Probably no surprise, but I am a regular viewer of Fox News. Second, Obama needs to change how Republican leaders think?! And he wants to do that by changing how the media (Fox) reports on these issues? Is Obama conceding that Fox News is more persuasive than CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN and MSNBC combined? Otherwise, why would he care about what only one cable news network says? If Fox is conveying a message that people want to hear, then maybe Obama should change his viewpoint. Although, let's be honest, he never cared that the majority of Americans did not want Obamacare - notwithstanding all his efforts to change "how our body politic thinks" about healthcare.

Most scary, however, is this idea of manipulating the media to bend toward his will. This is exactly what dictators do. If a dictator is unable to bend a media outlet to his will they simply shut it down. Obama has attacked Fox News since taking office. His inability to tolerate the sole dissenting voice on TV is, quite frankly, startling.

In referring to California, Obama said this: "...and there is a direct correlation between Proposition 13 and the slow disinvestment in the public university system so that it became very, very expensive. And kids got priced out of the market, or they started taking on a whole bunch of debt. Now, that was a public policy choice, based on folks not wanting to pay property taxes."

Let's first dispense with the obvious lie. Prop 13 did not come about because of "folks not wanting to pay property taxes." It came about because assessed values of homes had increased so dramatically that people who had owned their homes for decades could no longer afford to pay the property taxes. Prop 13 came about because the people of California saw how unfair it was to make homeowners, especially seniors, have to sell their homes just because of taxes. As for the rest of Obama's comments on education, see the discussion on public employee unions in Part I.

Obama: "The top hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country." Of the hedge fund managers he said: "You pretty much have more than you'll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use." This discussion came about in the context of the carried interest rate, which apparently allows these people to pay at a lower tax rate.

Where to begin? How many jobs do hedge fund managers create versus kindergarten teachers? How much wealth do they build for people versus kindergarten teachers? Why should any profession (anyone) make more than any other profession (anyone else)? If you answer it should all be "equal" then you are a socialist or communist.

Obama is always worried about the "millionaires and billionaires," a phrase he has used numerous times throughout his Presidency. So why should top Hollywood stars who make $20 million per picture be allowed to do that? Why should Obama supporters Bill Gates and Warren Buffet get to keep their billions? Think of all the people they could feed. Think of all the kids that could go to college with that money.

I am reminded of a scene from Dr. Zhivago; a scene which a friend and reader frequently refers to because of where our country seems to be headed. After returning home from tending to the wounded soldiers during WWI, Dr. Zhivago finds that his very large home has been taken over by many families - on orders of the new Soviet government. You see, why should one doctor have have such a spacious home for only his family, when the house is large enough to shelter many families.

Like communists and socialists everywhere, the Soviets concerned themselves with "equality." Not equality of opportunity, but equality of result. I, for one, prefer the American system. It's called freedom.

Obama on Poverty, Part I

On 5/12/15 President Obama participated in a panel on poverty at Georgetown University. The entire discussion can be read at the web site of the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, for those interested. Obama's comments tell us much about his ideology.

Early on Obama refers to a "...growing awareness of inequality in our society..." Inequality will always be a far bigger issue for the left than liberty, which is often a non-issue.

Obama: "First of all, I think we can all stipulate that the best antipoverty program is a job..." So stipulated! Now, Mr. Obama, when will you acknowledge what so many business leaders have been telling you - that your never-ending taxes and regulations deter businesses from hiring and creating more jobs. Your policies have resulted in the lowest employment rate in 40 years, along with one of the slowest economic recoveries.

Obama: "...over the past 40 years, the share of income going to the bottom 90% has shrunk from about 65% down to about 53%. It's a big shift. It's a big transfer..." Assuming the President is correct with his numbers, I have a question. How many of the bottom 90% have cell phones, computers, big screen TVs, and other such luxuries that one would not ordinarily equate with poverty?

Obama: "We don't dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history - it has lifted billions of people out of poverty...but...concentrations of wealth can lead to some being left behind." Let's focus on the first part of that comment. It bears repeating: "the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history." So, I must ask why you, Mr. President, and the left generally, adhere to so many socialist ideas. The "free market" is based on capitalism - not socialism. So see comment above about Obama's policies impeding job growth - and the free market.

Obama: "Those who are doing better and better...are withdrawing from sort of the commons - kids start going to private schools, kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public park. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together." Whew. There's a lot there. Private schools? Don't Democrats oppose school vouchers that would allow even poor families to send their kids to private schools? Don't the President's kids go to Sidwell Friends School, one of the truly elite private schools in the country? Any time you want an example of elitist - and hypocritical - statements of policy, just listen to what the Dems and their friends in Hollywood say, versus what they actually do.

After discussing the need for access to decent books and computers, Obama said this: "You look at state budgets, you look at city budgets, and you look at federal budgets, and we don't make those same common investments that we used to." Agreed. But maybe if we stopped rewarding teachers and other public employees with pensions that the government cannot afford, then we could finance those other things that Obama says we used to finance. But local governments and state legislatures and governors have consistently rewarded public employee unions in exchange for their electoral support, until some Republican governors came along and have tried to put the brakes on that nonsense.