For decades, astute observers of national welfare policy warned of the perversity of the incentives that kept the poor on welfare and discouraged them from taking jobs. Employment meant that their slightly higher income would be more than offset by the loss of other benefits like food stamps, day care, rent supplements and Medicaid. Work didn't pay.
Now Obama is applying the same crazy policies to the upper end of the economic spectrum. Upward mobility is alive and well in the United States, at least until Obama took over. A study conducted in the late 1990s examined the economic fate of those consigned to the bottom 20 percent of incomes in 1980. The analysis concluded that more than four out of five had left the bottom quintile and one in five was now in the top 20 percent!
It is true that the top quintile is getting richer while the bottom is getting poorer, but the bottom is not the same people. There is, fortunately, a constant churning at the bottom as new immigrants move in and those who used to be on the bottom begin their long, thrilling upward climb to the American dream.
But Obama does not believe in individual upward mobility. He would penalize it, tax it, regulate it, inveigh against it and disincentivize it. We will be like salmon swimming upstream to mate. We will overcome the currents, the waterfall, the rocks and the predators, and will grapple our way up the stream. Then, at the top of the waterfall, will stand Obama the Bear, waiting to scoop us up and have us for dinner. The taxman cometh.