Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From Hope To Hopelessness

In 1996, President Bill Clinton so feared Bob Dole’s candidacy that he bucked his party and signed welfare reform. It was a reform that working Americans had long demanded. Those of you who remember the Dole candidacy might find it difficult to believe, but Clinton felt sufficiently insecure about his reelection prospects that he worked with Republicans to craft a welfare reform plan that incentivized career welfare recipients to seek work.

It was a genuine success.

Barack Obama has always opposed that reform.

And now that he’s president, he has granted waivers to whomever doesn’t want to work.

Rule Obama! Obama waives the rules! (Hat tip: Mark Steyn)

Last month, Democrats were cheered by a series of public opinion polls that showed Obama leading Romney in three battleground states, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Setting aside the sampling bias that generated the results, the poll did yield interesting results.

For example, a majority of the poll’s respondents believed that the US economy was in a long term, if not permanent, decline. And they did not believe that the upcoming election would affect this trend.

This begs the question: Why would a majority of respondents plan to vote for the candidate responsible for the decline?

The answer may lie both in current events and in history.

Barack Obama has fully embraced Newt Gingrich’s characterization of him as the “food stamp” president. His surrogates have even argued that Obama should be proud of the title. According to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Obama should wear the title as a “badge of honor.”

Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack claimed that food stamps were an economic stimulus. Pelosi argued that food stamps were the best economic stimulus she could even imagine.

Obama has embraced the title of Food Stamp President so tightly that his administration has even organized recruiting parties for senior citizens to encourage more Americans to surrender their dignity and accept food stamps. This administration has even purchased Spanish language television advertizing to encourage illegal aliens to join the food stamp giveaway.

In addition to giving away food stamps and waiving work requirements for welfare, the Obama has relaxed the requirements for receiving Social Security disability payments so much that the number of people who now receive permanent disability checks has grown much faster than the number of people holding jobs. Since Obama took office, twice as many Americans have gone on permanent disability than have found work.

And there are the millions of discouraged workers who have left the workforce entirely. We have to go all the way back to the early days of the Reagan Administration to find an America with so few people in the workforce.

The official unemployment rate is 8.3%, but if the number of Americans seeking work were the same size as it was when Obama took office, then the unemployment rate would be 11%.

This president has spread despair and dependency. So why would any significant percentage of the populace even consider voting for him?

The answer may lie in history.

Popular mythology credits Franklin Delano Roosevelt with ending the Great Depression and for this a grateful populace reelected him four times.

Both are untrue.

Roosevelt’s policies prolonged the depression and until World War II broke out, the unemployment rate remained in high double digits and was rising until Germany and Great Britain started shooting at each other.

But Roosevelt was anointed the working man’s hero even though getting a job under his reign was darned difficult.

Despair accounted for Roosevelt’s success. In the 1930’s, Americans had little reason to hope for an improved economy, so they voted for the man who promised them a softer landing in the welfare net.

Obama has managed to spread enough despair that Americans are willing to vote for him so that he’ll keep the hammock in place. How many of those 5.4 million Americans who now depend upon Obama’s relaxed disability payments are going to vote for fiscal responsibility?

How many of those people who owe their daily bread to the Food Stamp President are going to vote him out?

How many of those people drawing welfare, whom he has excused from looking for work, will vote for Romney – especially if they believe that the economy is in permanent, irreversible decline?

And how ironic is it that the man who ran on a platform of hope has now pegged his reelection prospects on hopelessness?

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