The idea of the self-made man, the rugged individualist, armed with nothing but a superior work ethic, character, and talent has vanished from Obama’s vision of winning the future. Clearly, the president does not understand that in his bid to bludgeon Republicans into agreeing to additional tax hikes, he was simultaneously signaling his contempt and hostility for the self-made man. Amidst the bloviated debt ceiling talks was a stark reminder of just how badly Team Obama has damaged the nation.
Once upon a time, the image of the rugged individual, a person armed with nothing but a powerful idea, hard work ethic and the determination to persevere, was revered in our country. The notion that success or failure is dependent upon the character, work ethic and industry of each citizen has served as the bedrock American political creed for our nation’s entire history.
No longer. America has been transformed. Last week, Obama reminded us that millions of Americans are now completely dependent upon various government subsidy programs, without which, he says, they could not survive.
48.5 million Americans are dependent upon the government for food stamps to feed themselves. Another 55 million Americans are dependent upon social security. 21 million receive disability assistance subsidies. Still another 50.7 million need the government to provide their healthcare, with 60 million Americans on Medicaid.
Over 5 million Americans need the government to provide direct financial support for housing. Another 19.5 million require tuition assistance from the government to be able to go to college, while yet another 700,000 needed assistance to buy a car through Obama’s Cash for Clunkers. According to Obama’s philosophy, even mundane tasks such as weatherproofing windows and doors was, apparently beyond the ability of Americans to accomplish without direct government assistance.
Obama talked incessantly about these millions of Americans, now grown dependent upon government checks, as a way to increase political pressure on Republicans and force them to agree to a bad deal on the debt ceiling.
Obama wanted to remind Republicans and Tea Party loyalists that millions of Americans were going to be adversely impacted if government checks were not issued on time.
Add up all the millions now grown dependent upon the expanding entitlement system and Americans are left with the sobering fact that nearly 50% of our entire population is now dependent upon the government for some kind of subsidy for their food, housing, education and healthcare.
Instead of the idea of the self-made man, Obama tries to motivate Americans with a disturbing notion that government handouts, which until recently carried a negative stigma, are their right, and that entitlements should be showered upon anyone with almost any need.
Instead of success being earned through hard work and playing by the rules, Obama seems to believe that the government should provide. So, it is not surprising that Obama has already concluded that there is nothing morally wrong with pandering to the 50% of the population now dependent upon Team Obama, while taking money and opportunity away from others.
How far we have fallen! Government dependency and “getting something for nothing” carried with it a sense of shame. Benjamin Franklin advised anyone coming to America to be industrious and prepared to work hard. Franklin’s notions of thrift, self-improvement and industry were an essential part of the early Founders’ Protestant work ethic upon which our nation was founded.
Alexis DeTocqueville recognized that the American work ethic was the cornerstone of our rapid economic rise and success. Americans, observed DeTocqueville, were a perpetually busy and hard working people--“the notion of labor is therefore presented to the mind on every side as the necessary, natural and honest condition of human existence.”
Early settlers and immigrants to the United Sates were once provided stern warnings that “if you wish a calm and cheerful life, better stay home--the good advice pray and work is nowhere more to the point than in the United States.”
In his excellent book, Who Are We?, Samuel Huntington quotes Cuban American Alex Alvarez who, as recently as 1999, warned new Cuban immigrants of what they would confront in America. “Welcome to the capitalist system. Each of you is responsible for the amount of money you have in your pocket. The Government is not responsible for whether you eat, or whether you are poor or rich. The government doesn’t guarantee you a job or a house.”
In a shockingly short period of time, Team Obama has almost destroyed the American creed of hard work, industry, talent, thrift and delayed gratification. As a result of Obama’s policies, nearly 50% of our citizens are now encouraged or seduced into finding some subsidy program that is funded through the forced generosity of others. If no such program exists, Team Obama has promised to create one.
Democrats, led by Obama, are not happy with Republicans these days and they view the Tea Party as a group of jihadists. But Obama’s real war is on the American Dream and the idea of the Self-made man.