Vice President Joe Biden did it again.
He reiterated what was once a central theme of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and what has been a central tenet of our government since Mr. Obama became President. And the idea is, simply, this: when government takes wealth away from certain individuals and groups, and gives it to certain other individuals and groups, such actions are NOT to be called “economic re-distribution.” Such actions are to be described as “fairness.”
Biden, of course, has been a government employee for nearly forty years, earning a six-fugure salary paid for with our tax dollars. He has also earned a reputation of embarrassing public gaffes. And crude as his behavior is at times, it is nonetheless difficult to dispute the entertainment value generated when the Vice President utters the “f-word” into an open microphone (as he did during the recent White House “healthcare bill” signing ceremony), or when he proclaims somebody’s mother to be dead when she’s actually still alive (as he did with the Prime Minister of Ireland during a White House visit last month).
But during his recent sit-down interview with the journalists at Yahoo! Finance, Biden behaved like a Vice President should, and expressed ideas that are supportive of, and consistent with, the President that he serves. The problem, however, is that the economic irrationality of the entire Obama Administration is an endangerment to American freedom. Thus Biden’s remarks served to further advance a very destructive agenda.
Responding to claims that President Obama’s “healthcare” agenda is a matter of economic re-distribution, Biden stated "it's a simple proposition to us: Everyone is entitled to adequate medical health care. If you call that a 'redistribution of income' -- well, so be it. I don't call it that. I call it just being fair -- giving the middle class taxpayers an even break that the wealthy have been getting."
The broader implications of this “fairness” theme are the crux of the matter. But let’s look carefully for a moment at these specific remarks.
It sounds compassionate for a politician to say “everyone is entitled to adequate medical health care,” but stop and consider the implications of this statement. Vice President Biden – along with President Obama and the majority of the members of the U.S. Congress – have confirmed in the minds of at least some portion of the American public that they are “entitled” to the services of another human being.
Those “other” human beings are, of course, Medical Doctors, people who invest huge chunks of their time and energy and often delay gratification of their personal lives for a decade or more and frequently incur enormous personal debt just earning the right to practice their craft. And now the U.S. federal government says that “the rest of us” are entitled to a piece of these individuals. In previous generations, the idea of being entitled to the services of another person was called “slavery.” Can we really call this “fairness” today?
And notice how easily Vice President Biden, all within two sentences, seeks to sell the idea of Obamacare, with the implication that is balanced on the backs of “the rich.” By implying that somehow “rich people” have been getting an “unfair” advantage, he suggests that Obamacare gives “tax breaks” to the “middle class.”
Of course, this is also a bunch of falsehoods. The richest of Americans already pay the majority of our nation’s taxes. And Obamacare is loaded with new taxes that will impact all Americans, not just "rich" folks– new taxes on personal income, new taxes on medication and medical device purchases, even new taxes on wheelchair purchases (apparently the wheelchair-bound population is small enough that it is politically “safe” to punish them).
But thinking about this situation more broadly, one has to ask “what is fair?” Is it “fair” that wheel-chair bound Americans – some of whom presumably are living on fixed incomes – are now being forced to help pay for other people’s “entitlement?” Is it “fair” that Barack Obama and Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and every elected member of Congress and their respective staff members and members of the United Auto Worker’s union are all exempt from the heavy handed mandates of Obamacare, while the mandates are imposed on the millions of the rest of us? Is this the “change” we were “hoping” for?
And what politician is so “moral,” so pure, so just, so good, that they, alone, can determine what is “fair” for everybody? Would it be Joe Biden himself? Or Barack Obama? Or does that elusive arbiter of fairness exist elsewhere in the world today – maybe Hugo Chavez, the dictator of Venezuela , or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran ?
The founders of our great nation recognized that, after a few thousand years of civilization and multiple, painful attempts by governmental leaders to create “fair” societies, the best hope for humankind was to construct a society of freedom, where individuals can freely chose to do business with one-another (or choose not to). This characterization of freedom and “fairness” runs counter to the type of governmental constructs that Barack Obama grew-up with in Indonesia , and bares little resemblance to the world he knew in Chicago , but it is, nonetheless, distinctly American.
I suspect that President Obama has no interest in this type of freedom and “fairness.” And I’m beginning to believe that Vice President Biden has never contemplated such things. They are both, however, peddling a type of “fairness” that America simply cannot afford.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.