Terry Paulson

In President Obama's State of the Union Address, the president shared a quote by Abraham Lincoln that finally got Republicans to rise and applaud a core principle that America used to stand for: "You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

Unfortunately, his programs and policies don't match his words. On the one hand, he talks of an America that rewards hard work and success and ensures that all play by the same rules but, moments later, promises to change the rules and raise taxes on a very few wealthy Americans.

His double-speak would be comical if it were not so maddening: "We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do extremely well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules." Obama's liberal definition of "fairness" is anything but fair. Liberal "fairness" demands that government must take more from the top five percent of wealthy Americans who already pay 60% of the income tax load to fund the benefit programs for Americans who pay no income taxes and, according to liberals, can't get by without government help.

Gov. Mitch Daniels in the GOP response rightfully called this approach "trickle-down government." Americans have a choice this November--a government that will do everything it can to get out the way so that private enterprise can flourish and jobs can be created or a government that keeps extending handouts and adding debt.

If President Obama had embraced Abraham Lincoln's full quote, he would have had the non-partisan support he says that he wants: “You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

During the Republican January 16th debate in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich received a standing ovation. Why? Because he took a politically incorrect stand for conservative principles that contrasted America's choice: More government dependence or more personal responsibility and opportunity.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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