Derek Hunter

What is fair?

Not life. Some people obviously are smarter than others. Some are better looking. Others have more capacity for hard work.

But this is not unfair. This is the ultimate in fairness. It’s not what skills you were born with; it’s what you do with those skills. Many geniuses simply have no drive to work hard, many “average-looking” people marry “beautiful” people, and so on.

President Obama went to Osawatomie, Kan., this week to give a campaign speech -- er, policy speech; it couldn’t have been a campaign speech since we, the taxpayers, picked up the tab for it – about what is “fair.” Why Osawatomie? Because it’s where Teddy Roosevelt gave his famous “New Nationalism” speech in 1910, and President Obama wants to be the new TR. At least this week.

The President railed for nearly an hour about “fairness” and how the United States has become unfair. But, again, what is “fair”?

The first definition of “fair” from dictionary.com is “free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.”

Given this clearly was a campaign speech – you can tell from the relentless political attacks on Republicans – we can safely scratch “bias” from what he meant.

That this was so clearly a campaign speech also would seem to strike the “Dishonesty” part as well – to make no mention of the honesty of the man who first deployed the metric of metric of “jobs saved or created” and has Eric Holder as Attorney General.

That leaves us with “free from…injustice.” If there’s one thing “progressives” love to talk about, it is justice. Social justice, economic justice, “no justice, no peace.” Whatever kind of justice you want, they’re selling it. Unless, of course, you simply want the ultimate justice of being left to sink or swim on your own merit. In that case, forget it.

The President told the people of Osawatomie Teddy “…believed then what we know is true today, that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It's led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world.”

Then the other shoe dropped. “But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can.”

On what planet is that a pillar of the free market? That answer is none, but you can’t make a case against the free market without creating a straw man or two. Imagine if a factory somewhere had to physically produce all this president’s straw men. We’d be back to full employment in no time. But I digress.

The president went on to say, “I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.”

Who has been denied a “fair shot”? More importantly, who determines what is fair?

It is an awesome power – this determining fairness. It sets up government as the lone gatekeeper for student loans, the maker of regulations that raise barriers to creating new jobs and businesses, the executor of the will of progressives in the environmental and labor movements.

As the Keystone XL pipeline and travails of Boeing demonstrate, progressive forces, allies of the president, will do all they can to obstruct job creation and economic prosperity for Americans if it is at odds with their political will.

Who is not paying their “fair share”? The National Taxpayers Union reports the top 1 percent of earners, those with incomes of $343,927 or more, pay 36.73 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent – those with incomes above $154,643 – pay 58.66 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent pay 2.25 percent of all federal income taxes. As a society, we’ve accepted it, but that fact doesn’t make it fair.

Who isn’t playing by the “same rules”? When Henry Ford founded his car company, he wasn’t subsidized by the government. Neither was Bill Gates at Microsoft or Steve Jobs at Apple. They risked everything – their money, their time – on something they believed in. They assumed the risk and reaped the rewards. They played by the rules and it paid off. Did Solyndra, for instance, play by those rules? Or did it have the “right” people in position to make the call on what constitutes fairness?

Solyndra’s magic formula wasn’t a new computer platform or way to make cars. It was that its product advanced the progressive agenda and that its executives knew how to get the big-government statists in Washington to “alter the rules” on its behalf – to the tune of a half-billion dollars of our money that has gone totally to waste.

Who was that fair to? Certainly not taxpayers or other entrepreneurs who wanted to enter that business.

Barack Obama is correct. This country is becoming the United States of Unfair-ica, but not at all in the way he would like you to believe. Progressives use the power of government to favor those who share their agenda and tilt the playing field toward the outcome they want. The free market still rewards merit when allowed. Progressives continue to reward what they deem worthy. Both involve our money, but only one is really “fair.”


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.