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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Who is Obama kidding?



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By Mike Rosen

In his campaign speech earlier this month in Osawatomie, Kan., President Obama dramatically revealed his desperate re-election strategy of class warfare and big government. He has little choice. He certainly can’t run on his record, so he’s going all in on his fundamental ideology.

The speech got rave reviews from the left, encouraged that Obama has rediscovered his inner self. Paul Krugman​ and E.J. Dionne loved it. So did Robert Reich​, the leading advocate for socialism in the Clinton administration during his stint as secretary of labor, although he did scold Obama for including the Tea Party with the Occupiers in a part of the speech about the debate over “the defining issue of our time.” Reich asserted that “the former (Tea Party) hates government; the latter focuses blame on Wall Street and corporate greed.” (And welshing on their student loans.)

No, the Tea Party doesn’t hate government. It admires many elements of government like the military, cops, firefighters, originalist judges, conservative legislators and presidents like Ronald Reagan​. It just believes in limited government. But even in the Reagan administration, the rollback of intrusive government was modest at best. The frustration for those who seek to limit government is that it’s so difficult to do. The Tea Party and many Republicans heaped criticism on George W. Bush for the expansion of government from 2001-06 while Republicans had a majority in Congress.

Obama’s biggest whopper in that speech was his misrepresentation of his conservative critics. As he put it, “Their philosophy is simple. We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” What fantasy world does he live in? Does he imagine that our government, whether Democrats or Republicans are in power, comes anywhere close or is likely to leave people to “fend for themselves and play by their own rules”?

Most importantly and appropriately, we have the Department of Defense to provide military protection. Then there’s the FBI and the CIA to protect us from enemies domestic and foreign. Our water and air are protected by the Environmental Protection Agency​. Interstate business is regulated by the Department of Commerce​, which, unless the Supreme Court trumps Obamacare, will also mandate that we buy health insurance. Social Security protects our retirement. Medicare and Medicaid underwrite our health care. The IRS collects federal taxes from 53 percent of the population to subsidize the other 47 percent. Food stamps feed the poor; housing subsidies provide their shelter. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the disabled. The Voting Rights Act protects minorities. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights protects everyone. The Department of Education ensures that no child will be left behind. The National Labor Relations Board​, under Obama, favors labor unions at the expense of businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission protects our investments; the FDIC, our bank accounts; the Food and Drug Administration, our food and drugs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission​ protects consumers. And I’m just scratching the surface. At about 80,000 pages, the Federal Register keeps us informed about the status of mountains of laws and regulations.

These myriad departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions, committees, services, panels, etc., regulate and seek to control, to one degree or another, most every element of our personal lives and businesses. While government is a necessary part of our society, by its very nature and its monopoly power in most of its functions, it is inherently inefficient, bureaucratic and political. Where government or a quasi-governmental undertaking does have to compete with the private sector (like the U.S. Postal Service), its inefficiencies and excessive costs are readily apparent. It all constitutes an overhead cost on our economy that’s essential to limit.

Everybody left to fend for themselves, indeed. Who’s Obama kidding?

Mike Rosen’s radio show airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on 850-KOA.

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