One of the many ironies surrounding President Obama is that for all his harping on income inequality -- his most recent obsession designed to stir Americans against one another -- his policies have exacerbated it.
Obama, the self-professed bipartisan uniter, is never content to seek remedies to improve opportunity for all Americans. He has to have villains. His community organizing training and his disposition compel him to pit us against one another.
No matter what the stated reason for his latest policy craze, almost everything he does is in service to his quest to fundamentally transform America from a society of freedom, opportunity and industriousness to one of government-mandated outcomes and dependency.
Obama's usual pattern for advancing his policy agenda is to agitate us through rhetoric by portraying a certain "innocent" group as victimized by an exploitive group and then demanding a policy fix for the "injustice."
He has slandered the oil and coal industries as villainous in his push for green energy alternatives. He mercilessly demonized big banks as a prelude to passing the financial overhaul bill known as Dodd-Frank -- and also as a predicate to shaking down banks on behalf of upside-down homeowners. He bludgeoned insurance companies to soften their opposition to Obamacare and to make the public believe that it was a necessary reform.
Obama has trashed those with traditional values in his urgent push to promote same-sex marriage. He is forever defaming Second Amendment defenders as selfish extremists unconcerned with gun violence. He has depicted Republicans, the tea party and conservative radio hosts as enemies of the middle class, the poor, the unemployed, welfare recipients, blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals and women to grease the skids for all aspects of his statist agenda.
Perhaps the most recurring theme we've witnessed from Obama is his smearing of the rich. He used it to pass his stimulus bill, to justify much of his wasteful spending and during his endless proposals for higher taxes on the "wealthy," his crusade to expand the welfare rolls, his campaign for Obamacare and his obstruction of entitlement reform. Most recently, he's adopted his destructive class-warfare rhetoric to tout his war against "income inequality."
Though he has railed against income inequality incessantly for some time now, one might wonder why he hasn't done more to correct the imbalances he sees. He has been in office for a painful five years and has largely had his way with his stimulus package, taxes, spending, entitlements and Obamacare, and he's not satisfied with his results. Well, neither are we. But it would be nice if he quit blaming everyone but himself for the economic malaise he is causing.
Obama can't stand that capitalism and freedom result in some people prospering more than others economically, even though far more people prosper overall and the poor and middle classes do better than under any other system.
America was built on the ideas of freedom and equal opportunity for all. Every day, Obama is taking a sledgehammer to those principles and, in the process, is hurting the middle class and the poor. Should leaders of a supposedly free society be focusing on how much each person has relative to the next person or on policies designed to give everyone a better chance at prosperity, as only capitalism and free markets do?
Instead of inciting everyone to envy, covetousness and resentment over whether the next guy has more, Obama ought to be trying to inspire all people to prosper. His policies have not only swallowed our individual liberties but also harmed people he pretends to help. In the long run, it hurts people to be wards of the state. Policies that discourage work and incentivize welfare impoverish society as a whole and impede growth.
But for all Obama's hype against income inequality in this country, people move in and out of income groups with surprising frequency. National Review's Kevin Williamson observes that more than half of adult Americans will be at or near the poverty line sometime in their lives. Seventy-three percent of the people will at some point be in the top 20 percent; 39 percent will achieve the top 5 percent for at least a year; and 12 percent will make the top 1 percent for at least a year.
Are you grasping all this? The upshot is that Obama is shooting at a moving target. These income groups are not fixed; the middle class and poor are not forever consigned to their respective income levels.
The next time Obama rails against income inequality, just remember that he's misleading us in an effort to keep us at one another's throats to facilitate passage of the next agenda item on his mission to fundamentally change America from a land of freedom and opportunity to a socialist state.
If Obama would just quit officiously intermeddling with our free market, we would see not only vastly more economic growth but also less poverty and greater upward mobility. Isn't that what we should aspire to rather than a government that controls all economic results and, in the process, spreads economic misery?