“Completing this form is a critical start to completing your education,” noted First Lady Michelle Obama. It was Wednesday February 5, and she had traveled from the confines of the White House to a nearby Virginia high school to lecture students on applying for “free” federal financial aid for college.
“You don’t have to be the valedictorian” Mrs. Obama continued. “You don’t have to major in a certain subject. You don’t even have to be at the very bottom of the income ladder to receive the money. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your future.”
Determining the “single most important thing” for a young person’s future is a task that might otherwise make parents, teachers and counselors pause and contemplate. But for the wife of our current President the answer is obvious: get your “free” government handout.
The First Lady’s lecture came at an appropriate time. One day prior to her Virginia jaunt a report was released from the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) estimating that over the next decade the President’s signature healthcare reform law will likely incentivize some 2.4 million Americans to take on a lifestyle of no longer working, preferring instead to enjoy Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid and insurance subsidies (and perhaps enjoying “free” food stamps, subsidized mobile phones, and a bevy of other perks from our government).
White House Press Spokesperson Jay Carney announced at his daily briefing “Claims that the Affordable Care Act hurts jobs are simply belied by the facts…” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) celebrated people leaving the workforce noting, “we live in a country where we should be free agents. People can do what they want.” Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) assured MSNBC viewers that the only problem with Obamacare is that “Republicans are pathetic.”
Purveyors of the Obama agenda will continue defending and dismissing. That doesn’t change America’s reality: the President that we, the people have twice elected has implemented domestic policies that will eventually bankrupt us. No individual or family or household or company can consume more than it spends. No national government can do that either, yet American voters have continued to elect public officials - the President among them - who neither believe this nor understand it. Our current trajectory will lead all of America to a place of greater despair and less prosperity for all.
Despite predictions that the CBO report on Obamacare is “devastating” for the President and his political party, there is no reason yet to believe that this is so. Barack Obama and his party deserve to lose in a big way in November, but here are a few reasons why that might not happen:
A) The President and his party have a persuasive response to the economic woes they have created – more of the same: President Obama’s domestic agenda has done almost the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. To be fair, at the end of his first term the American financial system was certainly more stable than it was when he first took office. Beyond that, his policies have driven the cost of healthcare upward, created both a disincentive for working and for hiring, and have stifled lending and credit (thanks to the Dodd-Frank banking “reform” bill). As foolish as it may seem, Americans may very well support his response to the very misery that he has created: an emotional appeal to address so-called “income inequality.” People who know better are quick to dismiss this, but for a society that cares little about history and economics the President’s rhetoric is compelling.
B) There are few effective communicators who can articulate an Obama alternative: There are plenty of Americans who disagree with, and disapprove of the President’s agenda. But among Americans who actually care enough to vote, most do not vote “against” an agenda so much as they vote “for” an alternative. But what is the alternative to Obama’s agenda and who can articulate it? The Republican congressional leadership – Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – can scarcely string coherent sentences together, and the party has yet to articulate a compelling defense of private enterprise and government limits. Without something to vote “for,” the makeup of Congress is likely to not change much regardless of what current polling data says, which leaves the country with more of the same in terms of domestic policy.
C) Outside the beltway Americans are detached from their policy makers and paying little attention to their government – Whether anyone realizes it or not, the week of January 24th, 2014 marked a new low for the American electorate. During that week, over 8 of the developed nations around the world (including France, China and Venezuela) all reported dire employment and fiscal news; American retailers reported the worst holiday shopping season (2013) since 2008; American tech firm Intel announced the layoffs of 5,000 employees; the nations of Italy and Spain set new all-time highs for nationwide unemployment; and the Dow closed the week with a 170 point loss.
Despite all these signs of domestic and global economic trouble, the most searched-for news in America that week was the story of Justin Bieber’s drunk driving arrest. Call it un-serious news for an un-serious nation. Americans, for the most part, are simply not paying attention to the devastation of their own nation, let alone the damage done to the nations of the world by their own government.
Will Americans choose prosperity for its future? Conditions may have to become significantly worse before we, the people care enough to choose more wisely.
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.