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Obama: Enabler of the Irresponsible

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

In his inaugural address, President Obama heralded the arrival of a “new era of responsibility.” Apparently, this was a slip of the tongue, really meaning an “era of irresponsibility.” By his actions, Obama is pushing irresponsibility by picking winners and losers, punishing those who have worked hard and saved, while rewarding those who bought houses they could not afford and made bad business decisions. In other words, President Obama is an enabler.

An enabler is a person who makes it easier for people to continue their bad behavior by rescuing them. He protects other from their responsibilities. “The term codependency,” says Darlene Albury, LMSW, “refers to a relationship where one or both parties enable the other to act in certain maladaptive ways.” They make excuses for the other person’s destructive behavior. The enabler allows the other person’s wrong behavior to continue and to worsen.

Power and the need to be in control go hand-in-hand with the nurturing of dependency. This is what Obama is trying to do with his huge government programs which help those who have been irresponsible.

It’s a fact: people respond to incentives and disincentives. We work because we get paid, or don’t speed because we fear a ticket. People will act either responsibly or irresponsibly depending on the consequences. Obama’s bailout plans remove negative consequences to bad decisions.

Our capitalistic system is based on the concept of risk and rewards. People take risks in making investments and acquiring capital and then are free to reap the rewards and bear the burdens of their choices. In this manner successful businesses -- and individuals -- are rewarded, and they profit and reinvest that profit and grow. Ineffective businesses, which are taking up capital, go out of business or are bought up by the more successful companies, and scarce capital is used most effectively. Now this equation is being thrown off kilter by government intervention. First we had the bank bailouts, and the government choosing to allow Lehman Brothers to go broke while bailing out AIG. This is the era of irresponsibility. Once risk becomes unhinged from failure, and the government will bail out anyone who takes a risk and fails, there is no responsibility. The American system is then fundamentally altered.

When government attempts to redistribute wealth, this incentive structure is thrown on its head. In the Auto and Bank Bailout the government gave money to those who were failing, effectively propping up the losers and allowing them to stay in business to the detriment of those institutions that were wiser stewards of resources. The same thing happened in the economic stimulus. The tax cuts predominantly went to those who weren’t paying taxes in the first place. The real middle class gets $8 a week while the bulk of the $787 billion goes to pet pork projects of congressional leaders, or to those who are already receiving assistance from the government. Our incentive structure is out of whack. Rather than rewarding those who are working hard just barely staying afloat, we pass over them and help those who are already being helped.

This exactly what is happening in Obama’s new mortgage plan that is expected to cost around $275 billion, and to which CNBC host Rick Santelli succinctly asked, “Why should the 92 percent of responsible people bear the burden of the 8 percent that were irresponsible?”

Essentially the Obama administration is spending our money to bail out and assist the roughly 9 million Americans who are currently facing foreclosure. They are trying to artificially prop up the housing bubble and reward people who acted irresponsibly. While some people were working hard and scrapping by, the question is if this actually serves to help those people. For the vast majority of them, the answer is no. This bill takes from those who made wise decisions and worked hard, and gives to those who lived behind their means. It punishes responsibility while pushing irresponsibility.

Our market economy rewards those who work hard and make good decisions. And as John F. Kennedy believed, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” Meaning, when people are free to be productive and prosper, the pie is growing and we are all better off. The liberal view, and Obama’s view, is that the economic pie is fixed and we need to rob Peter to pay for Paul’s mortgage. This is simply not the case. America was founded and has become the most prosperous nation on earth based on the principles of free enterprise and capitalism, allowing people to bear the fruits of their labor.

Obama is simply an enabler to those who made poor, irresponsible decisions. One reason Obama is doing this is for power and control, the other is because he wants people to like him and be dependant on him.

If Obama is allowed to continue to push his socialistic agenda, our wealth and prosperity will disappear. It is time for a taxpayer revolt. As Rick Santelli said, it is time for a “new tea party.”

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