On Thursday, September 8th, 2011 President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress. His ten-page speech proposed an “American Jobs Act,” complete with lots of stimulus spending and payroll tax cuts. There is nothing really new here. We’ve got another stimulus/tax cut package that will further exacerbate the deficit. As always, the President was vague about how to pay for an additional $400 billion worth of spending, except to allude to the fact that the “rich” would have to pay.
This time, instead of listening to the speech, I printed the full ten page transcript. With time to analyze every word and phrase, I was able to come to a central conclusion; Barack Obama lives on a different planet than most of the American people. Our fundamental philosophies and even our observations about how the world works, are vastly different. Let me illustrate with some excerpts from his September 8th speech.
Fairness and Security: Obama states in his speech that “the question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.” Actually, for the first 174 years of this nation’s 236 years there was no fairness or security for anyone. The immigrants that came through Ellis Island didn’t find the streets paved with gold. They found instead the opportunity to work, free from government regulation and red tape. They had no food stamps, welfare, social security, unemployment insurance, or health insurance. They had one choice; take a job or starve. They chose to work and built the wealthiest nation on earth.
Fix Windows….Obama’s Plan to Improve Public Education: “There are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? ”The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows, installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across the country.
The President is correct that our kids aren’t learning; especially in urban public schools. These students aren’t failing because of cracked windows; they’re failing because of terrible, irresponsible teachers unions, many of whose members don’t give a damn about kids. If Barack Obama cared more about kids and less about the votes he gets from public school teachers, he would ask Congress to enact a nation-wide school voucher program immediately. Once parents got those vouchers they would face real choices in education; no longer prisoners to a monopoly public education system run by the National Education Association. Give the parents vouchers. They’ll be so happy with the schools that they’ll volunteer to fix the windows on weekends.
In one of Obama’s last remarks he says, “It has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world. But there’s always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.”
We’ve fought great wars as a nation, but we’re not a great nation because of any collectivist ideals. We are a great nation because individuals have been free to act in their self interest, largely free from government influence and regulation. If Obama gave this “all connected…some things we can only do together as a nation” remark in Oslo or Stockholm it would be widely accepted. Norwegians and Swedes are people who willingly embrace a collective conscience; they seem to revel in socialism. But this is America, where individuals are free to create and prosper. America is a land where most citizens distrust big government and have no faith in “collective conscience” whatsoever.
In the final analysis, the difference between a philosophy of collectivism and the code of individual self reliance is the gap that separates Barack Obama from most of the American people. Barack Obama would have made a hell of a good Swedish Prime Minister.