Archive for Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama takes ‘can’t-do’ view

June 20, 2008

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"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." - Auntie Mame

In today's political climate, a liberal Auntie Mame might say that life is a banquet, which the government must pay for, and that those who can't afford a place at the table should behave like it was an all-you-can eat buffet.

This is the view of Barack Obama. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Obama expounded on the economic policies he would pursue as president. Among other things, he is concerned about the "winner-take-all" economy where, he says, "the gains from economic growth skew heavily toward the wealthy." Actually, the gains from economic growth can skew toward anyone willing to work hard and make personal and family decisions that improve their chances for success.

This is boilerplate wealth redistribution, an economic philosophy at the center of the former Soviet Union. Obama and Democrats wish to embrace it now in order to make more people dependent on government, rather than encourage people to rely on themselves and the opportunity America offers to most citizens, even illegal aliens. Guaranteed equal outcome is socialism.

America was built on and sustained by a "can do" spirit. Today, too many are taught a "can't do" spirit. They are told that because of factors over which they have no control - race, class, poverty - it is impossible for them to do anything for themselves and so they must increasingly rely on government. Government doesn't cure poverty. It merely sets up barriers that ensure that too many poor people will remain locked in poverty. They are encouraged to vote for Democrats, if they want to keep receiving "benefits."

In his classic work "Self-Reliance," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till."

How many read Emerson today in schools that graduate multitudes who can't read, write or do basic math? Who teaches self-reliance? It's all about relying on government as our keeper.

America once was a country of overcomers. Today, we are not about overcoming. The successful are not studied to see how they succeeded. Their stories of overcoming obstacles are not told, at least in their totality. If they are told at all, it is just the success and wealth part, not the part about how they got there. And then because they studied hard, didn't take drugs, developed character, learned business principles and succeeded, they are told their wealth must be taken from them by Barack Obama and his legion of envious thieves to spread around to those who made wrong decisions.

Obama's economic doctrine subsidizes people who make wrong decisions and does little to encourage them to make right ones. Failure becomes an option, the flip side of success. One can make money either way.

Two observations from another era in which the word "entitlement" referred more to liberty than to someone else's earnings, ring true today. Both are from Calvin Coolidge. First, "Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong" and "The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful."

Or, if you prefer, John F. Kennedy at a Nov. 20, 1962 news conference: "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."

Several members of the Kennedy family have endorsed Obama. Maybe someone will remind him of JFK's decidedly different approach to taxation, prosperity and a "can do" spirit.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services

Comments

KsTwister 7 years ago

Anyone who believes the Republicans 'can do' either has not lived in this country for the last 8 years or has severe brain injuries (i.e. Katrina,inflation,oil prices,war boondoggle).

Robert bickers 7 years ago

Logic - Thomas Sowell says the same things as Cal Thomas, and he ain't white. Shame race came into this as Thomas never mentioned it in his op ed.People who work hard and make smart decisions DO get ahead in this country - or DID, before the government decided it should be the source of all that's good. The trick is the good decision making part. Far too many people don't know how to make good decisions because they have no model to look to, nor do they know to look outside their own experiences for examples. Those who succeed on their own merits should not be punished alongside the hedge fund managers and literal slave drivers who screw folks over.Obama might not be a disaster, but the Congressional policies he lets through likely will be. (Taken a good look at Europe lately?)

bad_dog 7 years ago

Marion says:"Hussein Obama has also reneged on his pledge to accept public funding, thereby selling himself and should he win, his office to his private donors."If your allegation is Obama is "flip-flopping", this isn't really an integrity issue to you is it? Seems more like grasping at straws to me. FYI, more than 90% of those "sales" you refer to are donations of $100 or less. That's really scary to a candidate that has to rely on tax funding because he can't finance his campaign otherwise, isn't it? I believe something less than 10% of those that maxxed their donations to "W" in the last two elections have done so for McCain. Not a high level of endorsement from the rank & file members of the party there.If the Dems didn't learn anything else in 2004, they won't get "Swift boated" this time.

bad_dog 7 years ago

I didn't see Gore championing the environment when he was Vice.He was in a great position to be effective yet did nothing. Why the sudden interest?Hmm, perhaps it's better late than never?

Orwell 7 years ago

Baddog:No one has collected because big-talking Pickens reneged on his "offer." First, when Kerry himself took up the challenge Pickens added additional conditions, then Pickens decided he would be the sole judge of whether anyone satisfied HIM that any Swift Boaters' claims were false."It is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

RR, they said his party, not him. Try reading and comprehending next time, dimwit.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus says,"And isn't the technology boom, and bust, that created the BushCo recession you like to blame on Clinton?"On prominent display (thanks, bo), is yet the latest of many contradictions. When held up to the light of day, the truth shines through.

BigAl 7 years ago

RestoreReason says: "Obama would do veterans a great service if he would ask members of his party to stop attacking veterans."And John McCain would do well if he would ask his party to stop paying lip service to the military. The republicans talk a good show but their delivery has been despicable. Our active duty military and our veterans deserve better. Yes, I am a veteran.

acoupstick 7 years ago

"You mean we DID cut taxes and we got increased disparity in incomes and increased deficits? And we cut taxes to reward those whose "success" was being lucky in the Gene Lottery, inheriting gazillions? And we can't keep our bridges from collapsing?"Yes, trickle-down reaganomics works just fine. If you're at the top.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"IM me and I'll tell you how you can be, too."Are you going to screen Dawn of the Dead for me?

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

In a society where last place actually gets a prize (because everyone is a "winner"), I am surprised by the massive amount of angst and misery displayed by the usual flaming liberals. I suggest they merely go to their closets, open the doors and embrace all those trophies.Or, is it they prefer those of us who do not feel entitled to the fruits of everyone else's labors to be equally as disconsolate as they are? Would that be the only true joy in their lives?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I love it. Obama calls it like it is, and all these Pollyanna Republicans can say is, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!!!" Ignoring, of course, that all of the resources to put on a show are owned by less than 5% of the population, or shipped out of the country.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

Gee boozo, it only took you 1 measly minute to retort. (It was a pretty lame retort at that.) You must think that my remarks were targeted to you. Well, yes, you would be right. I don't need this forum to pump me up. I'm already high on life, man. IM me and I'll tell you how you can be, too. Don't worry, be happy.

beatrice 7 years ago

If you didn't see Gore championing the environment when he was the Vice President, then you simply weren't paying attention. Everything happens in steps, and back then it was much harder to convince people of the obvious problems of relying on a finite energy source. Now, even GOP folks like McCain have recognized that Gore and the scientists are correct and have jumped on the green bandwagon.

bad_dog 7 years ago

RR:My comments were simply directed toward the use of the term as part of the political lexicon. In other words, if the tactic is tried again, ample attention and dollars will be directed toward addressing/refuting any such attempts, rather than essentially ignoring them like Kerry did in the short term.That is all.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years ago

Does anyone else find it interesting that a wealthy white male like Thomas is convinced that things like race, class, and poverty don't hold people down?===========I find it even more interesting that you think race, class and poverty are enough to doom a person to a life of failure. Do you seriously think black people are incapable of being successful? There are plenty of people who come from poor backgrounds that end up becoming very successful. Many of those people are immigrants who haven't developed the mindset that the government owes them. They make the decision to get things done for themselves rather than waiting for someone to give it to them. I often disagree with Cal, but he was right on the money when he said, "...the gains from economic growth can skew toward anyone willing to work hard and make personal and family decisions that improve their chances for success."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"I find it even more interesting that you think race, class and poverty are enough to doom a person to a life of failure."Oh, yeah, nothing like that has ever happened here.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years ago

When was the last time an immigrant (using your example) achieved the kind of success that say a VP of a Fortune 500 achieves?=========Well, let's see. Here are a few companies founded or co-founded by immigrants:Intel Corp. - Andy Grove - HungarySolectron Corp. - Winston Chen - TaiwanSanmina-SCI Corp. - Jule Sola - BosniaSun Microsystems Inc. - Andreas Bechtolsheim/Vinod Khosla - Germany/India eBay Inc. - Pierre Omidyar - France Yahoo Inc. - Jerry Yang - Taiwan Life Time Fitness Inc. - Bahram Akradi - IranTetra Tech Inc. - Henri Hodara - FranceUTStarcom Inc. - Ying Wu - China Google Inc. - Sergey Brin - Russia

bad_dog 7 years ago

RR:The problem with the Laffer curve as I understand it (aside from Reagonomic implications), is that it is tied to a "given" economy. The theory tries to establish a single point to maximize tax revenues. While this is all fine on paper, as economic conditions fluctuate the amount of tax revenue, therefore, also changes. You are either going to have to continuously reset the "point of maximumization" or understand you are dealing with an approximation, at best.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

RR says,"And John McCain IS the GOP right now."What?! Twist and spin. That makes absolutely no sense. If that were true, then come November, he'll get one vote, his own. Well maybe two, one from Cindy.Have some integrity and admit you were wrong. Let the record show (at least until you're booted again) that it was you that started in with the name-calling, Kevin.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

RR says,"I graduated cum laude with a degree in political science."HAHAHAHAH!!! That says it all! BTW, that was my minor. My degree was in a bit more weighty branch of science, Mr. Uneducated, just shy of magna!

repaste 7 years ago

the socialization of Obama has begun. "Same philosophy as old Soviet union" Carl Marx. My way or the highway. Let the republicans triple the size of our gov. again? I see crazy folk.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Oh good, Monkeyhawk is here to pump himself up.

Bob Hechlor 7 years ago

What Obama was accurately describing is how cronyism has taken over our government and the corporate world. During these two terms of Bush/Cheney, things have worsened exponentially. They have handed out taxpayer money to their comrades left and right without negotiating and without any oversight. We have wasted so much money for no return. Bush has been a wealth maker for the very few, while honest hard working people have experienced a decline in income which has set us back to levels of poverty and unemployment seen in the 1970's. Our younger generations will face a lowering of their standard of living and this has nothing to do with their work ethic. It has to do with failure of the people to hold their elected officials accountable. The writer is sticking to his ideology which unfortunately has nothing to do with reality. What Obama will bring to the table is a willingness to see the problems and address them. That is certainly a new concept. Our present "leaders" have done nothing but look the other way while Bush favored corporations steal from the taxpayers and bait and switch consumers. If most Americans really look at where they are in relation to where they were when Bush took over, they would have to face the reality that Americans made a huge mistake and better start voting for their own interests instead of some phony ideals.

Jcjayhawk1 7 years ago

Clinton enjoyed much of the policies set forth by Regan and Bush 1. It's True! How do you explain Bill's immediate success. There is a lag time between policy and the benefits received. Ask Clinton why he used SS funds to balance the budget.

Bob Hechlor 7 years ago

To: Kam FongMost people did not experience a decline in income and fall into poverty due to race, but due to a shift to a so-called global economy where jobs providing a living to families one day are gone the next due to companies like GM moving their operations to Mexico to get cheaper labor. Workers then lost income, pension plans, medical care and on and on. Many of them had to then take much lower paying jobs, often having to work 2-3 jobs to make up for the losses. There was no plan in place to address retraining, job shifting, etc. Americans are on their own when government and corporations make these decisions. Some will eventually make a comeback, but many will be permanently damaged by these decisions. In real terms, income has dropped significantly. So, we get more Walmarts that supposedly sell things for less, but pay very low income as well. Walmart workers are supplemented by taxpayers in many cases as in order to survive they must obtain food stamps and medical cards to make it. No problem, Walmart can run public relations ads. How about just increasing wages instead we might ask? Our problems can be fixed if we dedicate resources to retraining and building new technology jobs TO KEEP IN AMERICA, to keep our own people employed in jobs which pay enough to support families, education and healthcare. No doubt American workers can sacrifice for the good of the wealthy as we have been, but when will CEO's be paid enough and when will oil companies, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies be making enough hundreds of billions in profit?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

What's the word on the street about this, bozo?

Orwell 7 years ago

Oh, good! If we cut taxes to zero, we'll raise plenty of additional revenue, and everything will improve!:wait, what?You mean we DID cut taxes and we got INCREASED disparity in incomes and increased deficits? And we cut taxes to reward those whose "success" was being lucky in the Gene Lottery, inheriting gazillions? And we can't keep our bridges from collapsing?Sign me up anyway! I'm sure you really are concerned for everyone (except maybe them terrorist Muslims and "pretend" Christians), Cal! Your reasoning overwhelms me!

beatrice 7 years ago

And McCain takes the "I can continue to do what George Bush has been doing" view.Obama wins in a landslide.RR, when you talk about "attacking veterans," have you forgotten about the pink bandaids the Republicans were wearing at their national convention four years ago? Here you had an organized attack against a decorated veteran based on lies and slander while the Republican party supported an AWOL veteran who allowed his pilots license to run out during a time of war. Now go visit your local veteran's hospital, and then tell me how much the Republicans really support veterans. Support doesn't just mean the willingness to send soldiers into war.

vpete69 7 years ago

Europe and its 40% taxes and $8 gallon fuel prices are SOOOO much better than here. I'm glad you made that point.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Which street, snap? What about all the avenues and terraces?

Jcjayhawk1 7 years ago

"Asking those with immense resources to pay into the system a BIT more is not wealth redistribution."No one is asking. They want to MAKE them give it. That to me is robbery.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Without Reagan's economic policies, we would not have seen the technology boom of the late 1980s and 1990s."Are you saying that Reagan invented the internet, Kevin?And isn't the technology boom, and bust, that created the BushCo recession you like to blame on Clinton?

Ceallach 7 years ago

Why doesn't the government set a standard to take from each citizen according to his/her ability and give to each citizen according to his/her need? That would be fair, at least to me, because I am very needy and would really appreciate all those needs being met.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

(Taken a good look at Europe lately?)To a whole lot of people, they look a lot better than the US right now. What's your point?

christie 7 years ago

Funny how Republicans never point out the policies which favor corporate welfare. I'd rather see a dollar go to a person than Exxon.Didn't the Bush Administration just bail out - or support the bail-out of BEAR STEARNS ?? A multi-billion dollar company that made bad decisions?Yet if the Government supplied some poor person an opportunity to go to college, the Republicans would call foul???This makes no sense to me.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

RR, says,"Talk about uneducated."Yeah, and we've got a gaggle and throng of people that say your an idiot. Everything you put forth on that thread was pretty thin, even contradictory at times, and, instead of providing any further proof, you just kept regurgitating the same thing. Uber lame, Kevin. You may not be a master debater, but, well...BTW, tick tock. It will be interesting to see what your new moniker will be.

Jcjayhawk1 7 years ago

I didn't see Gore championing the environment when he was Vice. He was in a great position to be effective yet did nothing. Why the sudden interest?

repaste 7 years ago

" yet to be a recession under Bush" Kevin are you a smoking ?

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

Once again the question has been asked. I have asked it several times before on various threads here. No one will answer it beause they know the true answer does not help their candidate. So Again- what islamicist worth his salt is going to talk to Barrack Hussien Obama, the ultimate infidel how turned his back on the one true way (islam) They will just try harder to kill him, and us. Boozo, you got any enlightening ideas here for us? Please liberals of Larrytown, explain how this is going to be helpfull in this situation. Consider this a challenge to all Obama supporters, as I am tired of all of you guys dodging this question.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

And there's your problem logicsound, you are actually skeptical that hard work will get you ahead in this country? Wow, how totally bizarre. No wonder you just don't get it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"It's no accident that we had a technology boom shortly after Reagan's tax cuts."While I can agree that there were tax cuts, this statement also implies that there was a period of time before those tax cuts that there was limited technological development. Exactly when was that, and exactly what metric are you using to say there was a subsequent "boom" relative the "lull" you imply?"I think you're confused. The bust started on Clinton's watch. The Clinton recession began during Clinton's last budget. There has yet to be a recession under Bush."As much as you love to hate Clinton, his economic policies weren't so different from Reagan's or the Bushes', although they were somewhat moderated out of at least a modicum of concern for the middle-class and the poor. But boom and bust cycles are unavoidable characteristics of a capitalist system. Neither presidents nor anyone else has much control over when they will happen, or how long they will last. Nevertheless, stupidity such as flushing a few $trillion down the toilet for a vanity war, or failing to support new tech development when old technologies and industries are clearly and quickly approaching obsolescence can certainly accelerate and exacerbate recession. But generally speaking, using recessions and general economic performance as some sort of a score sheet to compare presidents is a largely pointless exercise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Clinton and Gore did nothing."What would you have had Gore do, Kevin?And what's your opinion on CAFE standards? Should the gas mileage requirements have been raised then? Should they be raised now? Do you have an opinion, or are you just playing your usual little partisan games?

KsTwister 7 years ago

Wish someone could name one foreign leader who thinks Bush is worth listening to. Just one. As for your Secretary of State, well that is a major nothing as well. Anyone can do better than this current administration---anyone.

RobertMarble 7 years ago

not quite anyone....bill clinton's obvious incompetence comes to mind, as does that of obama.

RobertMarble 7 years ago

T. Boone Pickens should offer a million $ for evidence of a liberal arguement that doesn't manage to insinuate the race / class crap into it..

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

Let's all blast Cal again. But the fact is Obama is a socialist, and an elitist at the same time. That's hard to do. But he doesn't believe in capitalism or self reliance. He wants all the self reliant hard workers of the nation to hand it over and give it to the lazy folks. Just several more reasons why he is toast and will lose in Nov.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"I implied no lull. You simply cannot deny that there was a technology boom during the latter half of the 1980s and the 1990s."There has been a technology boom for about the last 150 years."Then why did you refer to the "BushCo recession"?"Sometimes presidents are stupid enough that they really can cause a recession. Such is now the case.

RobertMarble 7 years ago

..or global warming...which must be racially biased, of course.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"And there's your problem logicsound, you are actually skeptical that hard work will get you ahead in this country? "No one claims that hard work is not usually an important element in succeeding, no matter what the endeavor.But consider this scenario-- Two new restaurants are opened, each by a talented and hardworking chef.One chef comes from a wealthy family with all the capital required to open in a well-equipped facility in a good part of town, fully staffed from day one, with a great advertising campaign to publicize it's opening.The other has little capital, opens in a run-down building in a bad part of town, has used equipment prone to breakdowns, is understaffed on opening day, and has no advertising other than word of mouth.Which one do you think is more likely to be open a year later?

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