Michael Barone

This view animated the New Deal in the 1930s and appealed to the non-property-owning majority. Franklin Roosevelt sowed the idea, harvested by the New Deal historians, that an ever-expanding government was both good and necessary. Democrats were referencing this when they said they were "making history" by passing their health care bill.

Their problem is that the America of the Progressives and New Dealers no longer exists. Government home-finance programs helped make us a nation of homeowners. Technological progress and deregulation squeezed out transportation and communications, and made the necessities of life less costly, enabling citizens to accumulate significant wealth in their working years.

True, we carried some of these things too far. Efforts to raise homeownership over 65 percent resulted in a housing price crash. Poorly understood financial innovations resulted in the financial crisis of 2008.

But we still live in an America like the America of the Founders, and unlike the America of the Progressives and the New Dealers, in which a majority of citizens are or have every prospect of becoming property owners. And a nation of property owners is less willing to plunder the property of others in search of some promised gain than a nation where most people don't and will never own significant property.

So when Susan Roesgen, then of CNN, upbraided a Tea Party protester in 2009 by reminding him that he was getting a $400 tax rebate thanks to the Democrats' stimulus package, she was met with utter dismissal. You don't sell out your property rights for a mere $400.

The polls and the post-2008 election results show that the purported beneficiaries of the Obama Democrats' programs are unenthusiastic about voting and people with modest incomes are trending heavily Republican. The only enthusiasm for the Obama Democrats' policies comes from David Brooks' "educated class": people who are or identify with the centralized experts tasked by the Obama Democrats with making decisions for the rest of us.

Unfortunately for the Obama Democrats, they, unlike property owners, are not a majority in today's America.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM