By: Akiva Berger  | 

Why Obama Must Go

Yeah, that’s right, this article’s sole purpose is to convince you to vote against President Obama come November 6. There, I said it. But hopefully, this will be an attempt to do so using not narrow, banal statistics, but rather broad, values-based arguments centered on fundamental perspectives about the issues. Therefore, this piece will not include a statistical barrage demonstrating the utter failure of the current economic recovery. Nor will it be an angry polemic as to why this president is so badly misguided in his foreign policy. And it won’t even contain a thorough elucidation of Mr. Obama’s marginal positions on sensitive social issues. Instead, the main purpose of this article is to delineate our president’s wider socioeconomic world-view and why it is dangerous for the American value system we have all come to cherish. Ipso facto, one cannot possibly vote for the man who embodies principles so alien to mainstream America.

President Obama dreams of a European social welfare state in which more and more Americans are dependent on government assistance. We must keep in mind that America, unlike modern-day Europe, was built on the promise of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes. This is why our Declaration of Independence references the right to the “pursuit of happiness,” but not the right to happiness itself. As the eminent author Dennis Prager points out, social welfare states hold up “equality” as their foremost value, whereas America embosses “liberty” on its currency. For the social democrat, material inequality is an evil that must be tackled by the state, completely unrelated to the issue of poverty. For him, accumulation of wealth is itself abhorrent. In contrast, Americans have naturally valued individual liberty and the freedom to build one’s own future as sacred pillars of our culture. Americans celebrate the success of others as the key to an ever-expanding pie of national wealth, lifting the standard of living for all. Politics of envy are strange to many of our citizens who may see in them a hint of socialism. Our celebration of liberty also explains why Americans classically turned to institutions outside government (religious and other) to solve social ills, as French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville observed already in the 19th century. Lastly, Americans have always placed a premium on earned success, a phenomenon that American Enterprise Institute economist Arthur Brooks has introduced and discussed at length. The idea that only earned success can bring true happiness is wholly an American value. In Europe, the term for making money is to “win” one’s wages; in America, it is not a coincidence that we earn our wages.

So how have Mr. Obama’s policies advanced this foreign, imported vision of a social welfare state? Most blatantly, the President and his party have worked to relax the requirements needed to qualify for welfare, all while putting a record 1 in 7 Americans on food stamps. Many Americans can now qualify for free cell phones and other “essentials” of the American lifestyle, and ads are aired encouraging more and more people to take advantage. Some Democrats, in the name of Keynesian economics, actually call these handouts “economic stimulus,” even as they cultivate troublesome habits. As I write this article, 1/3 of Americans receive some sort of regular government assistance, and 47% of us do not pay net positive income tax. How dangerous it is when almost half the electorate can simply vote for the other half to contribute more for increased entitlements and handouts. The philosophy of a social welfare state also encompasses corporate welfare, or “crony capitalism,” in which the government is tasked with picking winners and losers in the market through carefully selected “investments.”It is not hard to see how the president’s marquee achievement, Obamacare, will greatly enlarge the government’s hand in a sector comprising a whopping 17% of GDP. But under Mr. Obama, government has also augmented its “investment” in the auto, energy, and agriculture industries. Dodd-Frank and other onerous regulations place insurmountable barriers to entry in many sectors, only to preserve the dominance of the largest corporations who wield political clout.

But these actions are entirely explainable when considered in light of Mr. Obama’s socioeconomic world-view. Notice that he constantly calls upon the wealthy to pay their “fair share” without ever specifying what that “fair share” actually is. His now-infamous comments that “if you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen” are true representations of his entire political philosophy. According to President Obama, it is the government which deserves the credit for the economic growth and prosperity which have raised our standard of living to the highest in the history of the world. Many Democrats truly believe that the government is really entitled to all of your earnings, and merely allows you to keep some as it deems fit. This is why tax cuts are said to “cost” the government money, as if letting people keep their own earnings is actually a government expenditure. In Mr. Obama’s world, the government is the sole entity that can solve the economic and social ills that plague America. No, he is not a socialist, but rather a European-style social democrat who argues for cradle-to-grave government handouts, massive debts, arduous regulations, and substantial redistribution of wealth.

Given this characterization, I hope I have convinced you this election isn’t only about perpetually high unemployment, stagnant real wages, or declining median household net worth. Those are all just products of the wider Obama economic vision, in which government plays a larger and larger role while slowly crowding out the individual. In Europe we have a striking example of what bloated welfare states look like when their public debt and astronomical entitlements weigh down the private sector. But Mr. Obama will quixotically plow ahead with his agenda to make America more and more like those countries, even in the face of persistently sluggish GDP growth. More than the economic figures and statistics, it is this social welfare state mentality which proves Mr. Obama incapable of governing this magnificent, freedom-loving country of ours.