BY TOM TOTH | DECEMBER 11, 2013
Obama's inequality hypocrisy
Directing attention to the "defining issue of our time," Barack Obama recently warned the American people of the "fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe." The President wasn't referring to terrorism, an economic crisis, the presently occurring healthcare disaster, or human rights violations. Rather, he was talking about the trends of wealth inequality and decreasing economic mobility in the United States.
Curiously, he made this speech in reference to a nation that has suffered under his administration's policies for half a decade and is only beginning to feel the repercussions. In fact, the income gap is actually deeper under the Obama administration that it was during the eight years of his predecessor. Now, as his empty words navigate the airwaves, Barack Obama's stint in the Oval Office has done more to accelerate the "threats" of wealth inequality and decreased economic mobility than any other identifiable variable.
Wealth is a fairly simple concept. It is created by the mutual exchange of goods and services--and created in greatest scale by those with the most resources to risk and leverage in the market. When resources are invested into the marketplace, jobs are filled, wealth is created, and the standard of living increases for everyone. A stable economy where enterprise is free to operate makes economic growth a simple, natural phenomenon: when quality jobs are abundant, lower-to-middle-income Americans thrive.
The past five years of tax increases and industry-killing regulations have been anything but stable.
Conversely, the government, having raised about zero dollars of revenue not forcibly poached from private sector pockets, creates no wealth. It plunders wealth and moves it around as it chooses. The more wealth taken, the less there is to create more wealth.
Perhaps, if Obama is so intent on shrinking the American income gap, he should look to places like North Dakota where regulators like the EPA have not yet killed economic expansion through oil and natural gas refinement. There, infrastructure is being built and blue-collar workers without a college degree commonly make six figures.
Obama's words from the same speech addressing decreased economic mobility for American children born into poverty are actually startlingly accurate.
"[T]he idea that a child may never be able to escape [a life of poverty] because she lacks a decent education . . . should offend all of us."
Indeed, children forced to attend to attend failing schools because of their zip code and family income should be offensive to each American. Each illiterate child given a high school diploma or who joins a gang after being trapped in a dropout factory is a national embarrassment and a failure to the American principle of equal opportunity. But as the words left the President's mouth, his budget plan for this very year cuts Washington D.C.'s remarkably successful school choice program in its entirety. His actions defy his every word.
This speech accomplished nothing but shine a harsh light on the negative effects of Obama's own record to date.
There is indeed a present and fundamental threat to the American dream and way of life, but it's been grossly misidentified by Mr. Obama. Low-income earners have fewer opportunities because job creators don't trust the economy he's sabotaging. His budget would again condemn low-income children to failing schools, crippling them from the opportunity to rise from poverty.
The fundamental threat is the President's agenda and the policies of his allies.
Tom Toth is the Social Media Director for Americans for Limited Government
© 2013 by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.