Skip to comments.Obama and "Redistributive Change". His real agenda [Victor Davis Hanson]
Posted on 08/26/2009 5:07:32 AM PDT by Tolik
Forget the recession and the "uninsured." Obama has bigger fish to fry.
If we believe that Obama is trying to end the recession or
fix the health-care system, well miss his real agenda.
The first seven months of the Obama administration seemingly make no sense. Why squander public approval by running up astronomical deficits in a time of pre-existing staggering national debt?
Why polarize opponents after promising bipartisan transcendence?
Why create vast new programs when the efficacy of big government is already seen as dubious?
But that is exactly the wrong way to look at these first seven months of Obamist policy-making.
Take increased federal spending and the growing government absorption of GDP. Given the resiliency of the U.S. economy, it would have been easy to ride out the recession. In that case we would still have had to deal with a burgeoning and unsustainable annual federal deficit that would have approached $1 trillion.
Instead, Obama may nearly double that amount of annual indebtedness with more federal stimuli and bailouts, newly envisioned cap-and-trade legislation, and a variety of fresh entitlements. Was that fiscally irresponsible? Yes, of course.
But I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.
Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk. Rather income is seen more as luck-driven, cruelly capricious, unfair even immoral, in that some are rewarded arbitrarily on the basis of race, class, and gender advantages, others for their overweening greed and ambition, and still more for their quasi-criminality.
Patriotic federal healers must then step in to spread the wealth. Through redistributive tax rates, they can treat the illness that the private sector has caused. After all, there is no intrinsic reason why an auto fabricator makes $60 in hourly wages and benefits, while a young investment banker finagles $500.
Or, in the presidents own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the waitress with those of the lucky. It is thus a fitting and proper role of the new federal government to rectify imbalances of compensation at least for those outside the anointed Guardian class. In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.
Still, why would intelligent politicians try to ram through, in mere weeks, a thousand pages of health-care gibberish its details outsourced to far-left elements in the Congress (and their staffers) that few in the cabinet had ever read or even knew much about?
Once again, I dont think health care per se was ever really the issue. When pressed, no one in the administration seemed to know whether illegal aliens were covered. Few cared why young people do not divert some of their entertainment expenditures to a modest investment in private catastrophic coverage.
Warnings that Canadians already have their health care rationed, wait in long lines, and are denied timely and critical procedures also did not seem to matter. And no attention was paid to statistics suggesting that, if we exclude homicides and auto accidents, Americans live as long on average as anyone in the industrial world, and have better chances of surviving longer with heart disease and cancer. That the average American did not wish to radically alter his existing plan, and that he understood that the uninsured really did have access to health care, albeit in a wasteful manner at the emergency room, was likewise of no concern.
The issue again was larger, and involved a vast reinterpretation of how America receives health care. Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.
Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. They (the few) will now have the same care as we (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.
We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administrations recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.
Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By better I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.
Instead, better means fairer, or more equal. We may make different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.
None of this equality-of-results thinking is new.
When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy, whether through the extreme measure of ostracism or the more mundane forced liturgies; use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.
The modern versions of much of the above already seem to be guiding the Obama administration evident each time we hear of another proposal to make it easier to renounce personal debt; federal action to curtail property or water rights; efforts to make voter registration and vote casting easier; radically higher taxes on the top 5 percent; takeover of private business; expansion of the federal government and an increase in government employees; or massive inflationary borrowing. The current class-warfare them/us rhetoric was predictable.
Usually such ideologies do not take hold in America, given its tradition of liberty, frontier self-reliance, and emphasis on personal freedom rather than mandated fraternity and egalitarianism. At times, however, the stars line up, when a national catastrophe, like war or depression, coincides with the appearance of an unusually gifted, highly polished, and eloquent populist. But the anointed one must be savvy enough to run first as a centrist in order later to govern as a statist.
Given the September 2008 financial meltdown, the unhappiness over the war, the ongoing recession, and Barack Obamas postracial claims and singular hope-and-change rhetoric, we found ourselves in just such a situation. For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.
That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the presidents charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change.
Obama and his supporters at times are quite candid about such a radical spread-the-wealth agenda, voiced best by Rahm Emanuel You dont ever want a crisis to go to waste; its an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid or more casually by Obama himself My attitude is that if the economys good for folks from the bottom up, its gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, its good for everybody.
So we move at breakneck speed in order not to miss this rare opportunity when the radical leadership of the Congress and the White House for a brief moment clinch the reins of power. By the time a shell-shocked public wakes up and realizes that the prescribed chemotherapy is far worse than the existing illness, it should be too late to revive the old-style American patient.
Just a partial list. Much more at the link: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
Obama vs. Obama "The fault, dear Barack, is not in our stars, But in ourselves" The Strange Case of the Obama Meltdown Divine Debt Trumps All - The U.S. is broke and its ability to borrow ever... The Obama Administration : What Went Wrong Our Road to Oceania When America Will Become Europe. Thoughts of Our European Future to Come Bullying Israel-only country with which the U.S. has worse relations since Obama took office Prairie-Fire Anger. Why Are People in Revolt? Obama's Great Race to Change America The Great American Debt (We are committing national suicide by debt addiction to foreigners) Mediterranean Reflections on What Went Wrong What Happened to Our Postracial President? Lose, Lose When You Talk About Race Obamas Path Not Taken. What Might Have Happened On Shearing Sheep (relentless hostility to small business) The War Against the Producers A Thugs Primer - How to win liberal friends and oppress your people What Do these First Six Months Mean? Where Are We Going? The New Orwellianism Reflections on the Iranian Enigma. The World Turned Upside Down Still a Boor and a Coward [Victor Davis Hanson on Letterman, Wright + Thoughts on a Creepy Culture] A Boor and a Coward [Victor Davis Hanson tears apart the creep, a.k.a David Letterman] Our Historically Challenged President. A list of distortions I No Longer Quite Believe ... [Victor Davis Hanson on Orwellian media & science, race relations] The Reckoning. Obama Versus the Way of the Universe President Palins First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obamas record Confessions of a Contrarian [deconstructing Obama, the Left and more] President Obamas First 70 Days. It really does all make sense Thoughts About Depressed Americans Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody] Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Combined ping to 2 ping lists
I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention.
You are welcome to browse the list of truly exceptional articles I pinged to lately. Updated on August 24, 2009. on my page.
Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.
RE :”But I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency”
I believe it. Of course it is our job to talk about Unemployment and debt over and over and make Obama own them.
Obama is the most successful communist traitor mole in history, bar none. Kim Philby couldn’t tie his shoes.
There’s so much irony in all of this. The obvious, indeed stated agenda equals Reparations. It’s Reparations by any other name. One must never forget that a majority of U.S. voters elected this president. The key to that of course is that over 50% of the population receives more in benefits from this gov’t than they pay in. Thus we have a majority voting pool of parasites. Thus we have a Parasitic Gov’t. And one of the ironies of this is that brave patriots die in service to their country in Afghanistan and Iraq; serving the cause of freedom for a country now largely of parasites feasting through their parasitic gov’t.
...it is war...it is the war of the Democrats against the Baby Boom...who have paid into and now are poised to reap the benefits of Social Security and Medicare...it is the war of those who created these fraudulent programs ...which have fleeced 45 years of taxes from the Baby Boom..and never intended to grant them the benefits they were conned into allowing to be withheld from their paychecks. It is a personal war...because by hastening them to their graves...they intend to fleece their descendants of their estates.
“inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital”
DING!!!!! We have a winner!
no reason to work, creat jobs or do anything...I love the way they are threatening Seniors ss and medical....they will pass a do nothing bill to passify the seniors and take more of your money....what do you want to bet after they drain us dry they still ask for reparation.we can own water in my state....the state owns it all....even if i make my own lake....its their wate...now they own the air that we breathe and can cut it off at anytime.
“You have no idea how far State control goes and how
much power the Nazi representatives have over our work.
The worst of it is that they are so ignorant. In this respect they certainly
differ from the former Social-Democratic officials.
These Nazi radicals think of nothing except ‘distributing the wealth.’
“Some businessmen have even started studying Marxist
theories, so that they will have a better understanding of
the present economic system.”
— From “The Vampire Economy - Doing Business Under Fascism,” Guenter Reimann, 1939.
The same Obama that didn't unerstand that capital gains tax reductions have historically resulted in more tax revenues for the government, doesn't grasp this fact, nor do most liberals.
The waitress will be lucky to have a job when the top 5% stop dining at restaurants. Of course this will never apply to the obama’s and emmanuel’s, who shelter their wealth from taxation or live off the donated largess of those they despise.
“Given the September 2008 financial meltdown”
So - the same tactic that put Roosevelt’s beginnings of Socialism in place were used again. Just as the Fed created the depression to let FDR Socialize the government, so the NWO bankers simply created a financial crisis (never waste a good crisis) and engineered the Obama election with massive amounts of money for TV commercials, the cooperation of the media in saturating the news with his face, and ACORN voter fraud and - - - Voila! A Marxist government in the USA.
Good thing you said 'tie'--'shine' would have been RACIST ! ....LOL....
What Obama has always been about, what he was trained for by Frank Marshall Davis and Rev. Wright and Billie Ayers — a giant “smash and grab” looting of the nation. “Redistributive justice” indeed.
Obama understands both of those concepts very well. He just doesn’t care. He’d rather have massive redistribution, giving everyone close to equal pieces of a smaller pie, than have very unequal distribution of a much larger pie - even if it means that the smallest piece of the larger pie is bigger than the roughly equal pieces of the smaller one.
OUTSTANDING article by VDH! Thanks for posting.
The lightweight-socialist, propagandists-created, con-man fooled many. The bulk of his anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-individual, anti-life statist allies were in place long before he arrived. We should’ve drummed his legislative support system out of office one-by-one long ago. He is their poster child. The neo-statist. Hope and change becomes rope and chains.
And he brought all his friends with him.
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