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By Mr. Curmudgeon:
Recently, Romney’s Democratic opponents in politics and the press attacked the GOP candidate for saying there “are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
Romney’s critics describe his remarks as heartless attacks by a wealthy Republican on the poor.
Meanwhile, a 1998 audio recording surfaced of then Sen. Barack Obama discussing his views on government and its role in wealth redistribution.
“I think that what we’re going to have to do is somehow resuscitate the notion that government action can be effective at all. There has been a systematic – I don’t think it’s too strong to call it a propaganda campaign – against the possibility of government action and its efficacy. And I think some of it has been deserved: the Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policymaking. And neither, necessarily have been the Chicago public schools. What that means, then, is that as we try to resuscitate – that we’re all in this thing together, leave nobody behind – we do have to be innovative in thinking, ‘What are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?’ And my suggestion, I guess, would be … the trick … is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pull resources and hence facilitate some redistribution. Because I actually believe in redistribution – at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”
Let’s excavate Obama’s words as though we are archeologists:
First, notice that Obama makes no pretense that his world-view is backed by the weight of experience or history. He merely calls his redistributive theology a “notion.”
Second, Obama undercuts his own “notion” by sighting the real-world failure of the Chicago Housing Authority. Starting in the 1920s, Chicago sociologists saw “slums as an urban ecological problem with decaying structures and unplanned landscapes acting as a cancerous ‘blight,’” writes D. Bradford Hunt in Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing. All that “blight” was supposed to end with the passage of Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 Housing Act. Progressive leadership and redistributed funds from the public would create a paradise for the less fortunate, giving them affordable housing and a brighter future. That New Deal triumph became a drug and violence-ridden, world-renowned failure. Today, Chicago’s city fathers are bulldozing these high-rise deathtraps for developers to gentrify.
Third, seventy-nine percent of Chicago’s schoolchildren are not grade-level proficient in reading, 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math, and their city’s school day is shorter than the national average. Chicago teachers make an average salary of $74,839. The recently concluded Chicago teacher’s strike was not over money but an upcoming initiative to tie teacher evaluations to the success or failure of their student’s scores on standardized tests, which would also determine which schools remained open and which to close. The union agreed to have test scores account for 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Just in passing, for their private-sector counterparts, student test scores account for 70 percent of a teacher’s assessment. According to the Washington Post, Chicago schools cost underserved taxpayers $4.8 billion in 2012 … and that’s with a $665 million deficit.
Fourth, Obama “can only confiscate the wealth that exists,” wrote economist and conservative columnist Thomas Sowell, “You cannot confiscate future wealth – and the future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated.” The Soviet Union ran headfirst into that little conundrum. As one of the 20th century’s’ great military giants, history’s first communist power exited the world stage, not with a bang, but a whimper. After seventy years, there simply was no more wealth to redistribute, and Vladimir Lenin’s great “notion” fizzled.
The Obama audio recording shows that resuscitating “the notion that government action can be effective” has been a driving force since his days as a Chicago community organizer. Can anybody honestly say he left Chicago better than he found it? Can anybody honestly say he’s done the same for the nation?
All that being said, the onus is not on Romney to explain his remarks regarding the 47% of the electorate that is in the bag for Obama and his brand of failed Chicago values. The onus is on Obama and the 47% to explain the failed Chicago blueprint of wealth-destroying redistribution that gives everybody “a shot” at economic and social misery.
Nearly four years after Obama assumed the presidency, Joe The Plumber and the 53% of Americans that pay redistributive taxes are waiting for an answer to that question.