The Myth of Liberal Compassion
Obama's 'fairness' policies do much more harm than good
David Limbaugh | August 19, 2013
What will it take for the country to wake up to the destructive ravages of liberalism – and finally do something about them?
Liberals continue to masquerade as exclusive proprietors of compassion, but their policies stubbornly undermine their possessory claim. Indeed, Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America is nothing less than America’s decline and destruction in the name of compassion and fairness.
You can’t scan a day’s news without seeing proof of this. Let’s look at just two items in today’s news digest.
The Cato Institute has released a report documenting that in Obama’s America, “welfare pays better than work.” Cato’s Michael Tanner concludes that the federal government funds 126 programs targeted at low-income Americans, a shocking 72 of which involve the transfer of cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. This does not include the many assistance programs provided by state and local governments.
The Cato study examines the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother of two children. In the state of New York, for example, “a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.”
Because welfare benefits aren’t taxable, a New York wage earner would have to earn in excess of $21 per hour to do better than his welfare recipient counterpart, which is more than a beginning teacher makes. Though benefits vary among the states, for many recipients, especially long-term dependents, welfare pays substantially more than an entry-level job.
Ponder the powerful disincentive this constitutes to work – just like the endless extension of unemployment benefits over which Obama is always willing to shut down the government.
How can a society that embraces the work ethic not shudder in horror at this development? Yet a great portion of our society and political class doesn’t.
Obviously, this state of affairs threatens America’s fiscal integrity and is punitive to those in the workforce. Perhaps what’s not so obvious, at least to bleary-eyed utopians, is that such excessive transfer payments ultimately harm the recipients in the long term. So do punitive taxes on the “rich.” A powerful piece in the Wall Street Journal this week demonstrates that “targeting the wealthy kills jobs.” In other words, folks, liberal compassion is not compassionate.
Cato posits that the best cure for poverty is still a job. And contrary to what the compassion snobs doubtlessly believe, even minimum-wage jobs can launch people out of poverty.
A specific remedy is to strengthen work requirements in welfare programs. In fact, we’ve done it, and it worked. But Obama didn’t like it and reversed it because he is trapped in his radicalized worldview, a narrow-minded ideology that misinforms him that we have a closed economy with a fixed amount of income – a finite, zero-sum pie that offers the opportunity for individual growth only through redistribution. Is it any wonder he has given us perpetual economic malaise?
In our next news item of the day, we read about the enormous expansion of the regulatory state under Obama and how it will outlast his term in office.
In my most recent two books, in which I chronicled President Obama’s ongoing assault on America, I substantiated the frightening growth of the regulatory state under Obama, which has since become even worse – by Obama’s design. Just as he lied about increasing domestic oil production, he falsely claimed he has streamlined our regulatory climate.
He’s frequently huffed that he will use all tools at his disposal – many of them regulatory – to advance his agenda when Congress won’t bend to his will. He has acted unilaterally on immigration, labor, energy, gun control, cybersecurity, sentencing guidelines for drug offenses and the environment, to name a few.
The Hill reports that in Obama’s first three years in office, the Code of Federal Regulations increased by 7.4 percent, almost twice the rate of President George W. Bush’s first term. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, asserts, “It would be difficult for anyone to pretend that this isn’t a high water mark in terms of regulation.”
These rules and regulations are not only smothering our economy but also destroying our individual liberties and threatening our constitutional framework, because they are promulgated and enforced by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.
You don’t need to be an economist to understand that Obama’s massive taxing, spending and regulations are causing America’s economic decline. You don’t need to be a sociologist to grasp that his runaway welfare schemes are robbing people of their dignity while doing little to alleviate poverty.
At some point, Obama and his fellow liberals need to be judged for the effects of their policies, not the grandiosity of their self-congratulatory rhetoric.
It’s often said that there is nothing compassionate about being charitable with other people’s money. It’s not said often enough that arrogant liberal experiments in forced “fairness” are affirmatively cruel because they comprehensively destroy wealth and prosperity and greatly harm the people they promise to benefit.