What a massive misinterpretation and deliberately misleading statement about the ideas and foundations which built what he simplistically calls "the largest middle class and strongest economy our world has ever known."
No, Mr. President, to begin with, Americans escaped those old ideas of "class" distinctions when they fled other countries for America.
It is your generation's focus on so-called "progressive" and backward ideas which classifies Americans according to income and other artificial methods.
America's idea was different! The U. S. Constitution was framed to make it possible for class, and even racial distinctions to be eliminated and for individual liberty and opportunity to become possible for every citizen. It took some years and much treasure, but that was the goal, and it was largely achieved.
Now, regressive ideas from the Old World have come back under a new brand--"progressive"--but they are the same old, tired ideas where power-hungry elitists, under the guise of "leading," enslave minds and laborers, all in the cause of acquiring power by false promises.
America became what it became because of a set of enduring principles which limited the power of such "leaders."
Tired of having the fruits of their labors confiscated by an overpowering British government, America's Founders declared themselves free and independent.
Most American schoolchildren can recite their claim that ". all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ... to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Less familiar, however, are these lines from their Declaration of Independence:
"He ( King George III ) has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance .... He has combined with others to subject us, ... imposing taxes on us without our consent."
What, then, did the Founders consider to be the real cornerstone of man's liberty and happiness? On what basic premise did they devise their Constitution? Let them speak for themselves:
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God ... anarchy and tyranny commence. PROPERTY MUST BE SECURED OR LIBERTY CANNOT EXIST"
"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort .... This being the end of government, that is NOT a just government,... nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has ... is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest."
Their guiding principle was that people come together to form governments in order to SECURE their rights to property - not to create an entity which will, itself, "take from the mouths of labor the bread it has earned." What was wrong for individual citizens to do to one another, they believed, was equally wrong for government to do to them.
The right to own property and to keep the rewards of individual labor opened the floodgates of progress for the benefit of the entire human race. Millions have fled other countries to participate in the Miracle of America.
Footnote: Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part III: ISBN 0-937047-01-5
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On the bright side Basic Bargain is less rhetorically threatening than Square/New/Fair Deal, Great Society, or the whatever Frontier.