The Real Backbone of America

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Feb 21, 2009 3:35 PM
Guest hosting yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt Show, one of the topics we discussed was the remarkable, albeit inadvertant, insight the First Lady recently offered into the mindset and priorities of the Obama administration.

Addressing the bureaucrats at the Department of Agriculture, Michelle Obama had this to say:

[W]hat America needs to remember is that this nation is built on the backs of you -- workers who have dedicated their lifetimes to working on behalf of the issues that are so important to this nation.  And before we do anything here in this town -- in this country -- we thought it is important to say "thank you" for the work that you've done, thank you for the work that you're gonna do because we're going to need you working so very hard over the next several years.  (emphasis added)

In other words, Mrs. Obama is arguing that America was built on the backs of federal bureaucrats.  Now don't get me wrong: I stand second to no one in applauding the hard work performed by federal workers who provide valuable and necessary services -- for example, in the military.  And then there are the state (or city) workers like policemen, firemen, teachers and the rest; without them, of course, we couldn't get along.

But the First Lady has reserved her accolades for office workers at the Department of Agriculture -- in her view, they are the backbone of America.

Well, I beg to differ.  I have worked for the federal government, and I am a lawyer -- so I know parasites.  And many, many of the government bureaucrats on the federal, state and city levels are little more than that.

The real backbone of America is the people who are working hard to subsidize the government workers: Small business people -- all (honest) business people for that matter, professionals, workers of all stripes in the private sector who actually produce something or render needed services.  They produce value; they make money that they are then required to send to fund the people that Mrs. Obama is praising so fulsomely.

But her words tell you a lot about where her (and, no doubt her husband's) hearts lie.  Look at the stimulus plan: There's not much there to help small business.  There's plenty there to increase the number of government bureaucrats.

Memo to Mrs. Obama:  This nation wasn't built on the backs of government workers.  Government was built on the backs of government workers.  America was built on the backs of those in private enterprise.