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Travis Rowley: Democrats: Slavery + Dependence = Freedom

Saturday, February 08, 2014


“It's adding insult to injury…As the welfare state expands, the incentive to work declines. Meaning, grow the government, you shrink the economy.” – Rep. Paul Ryan (R)

“The most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people.” – F.A. Hayek, The Road To Serfdom (1944)

It’s really not that complicated. But leave it to Democrats to overlook this basic lesson on human nature: If one is being provided for, one has less incentive to provide for oneself.

Independence is a discipline most parents attempt to instill within their children. Unfortunately, the amount of Americans who relapse to a nascent mental state is enough to form a sizable political force called The Democratic Party.

And when such a socialist entity accumulates enough power to control large segments of the government, one is often forced to suffer hours of official testimony to explain what once were widely considered to be simple, primary, and natural truths.

So this week the nation watched the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, appear before the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee in order to inform the country that everlasting welfare payments “[create] a disincentive for people to work.”

While he was there, the Director also explained that people tend to swim when they are tossed into a body of water.

Elmendorf was testifying in front of this congressional committee in order to elaborate on a CBO report that projected “nationwide losses equal to 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021” caused by the Obamacare law.

It’s important to recognize exactly what this CBO report is saying. That is, in addition to the millions of jobs and working hours that businesses will cut, millions of Americans will also willingly remain out of the middle class – voluntarily work less, or not at all – in order to retain their Obamacare subsidies.

“As a result ... that [lower] labor supply lowers economic growth,” was the statement that Republican Congressman Paul Ryan directed toward Elmendorf.

Elmendorf’s response: “Yes, that's right.”

Fulfilling the Radical Dream

More than five years after Barack Obama told a roaring crowd that he and his supporters were only “five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” the President finds himself defending a lousy economic record. Last week, this culminated with a question he received from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: “Why do you feel it's necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity and success?”

Appearing to be in denial that he ever proposed such a thing, Obama answered, “I don’t think we have to fundamentally transform the nation.”

Foisting socialism upon millions of cultural capitalists isn’t easy. Leftists have to lie. They have to shroud themselves in the language of American traditions. So Obama resorted to a message that he has recently become fond of employing during political appearances: “I think that what we have to do is make sure that, here in America, if you work hard, you can get ahead.”

But the problem for Democrats is that wealth redistribution doesn’t command work. In fact, it often discourages it. Particularly when the assistance comes in the form of life’s necessities – food, housing, and healthcare.

Even before Obamacare, the federal government had undoubtedly achieved the virtual fulfillment of the 1960’s radical “welfare rights movement” that “pushed for a guaranteed living income” for every American. According to the US Census Bureau, over 100 million Americans are currently participating in one or more means-tested government benefit programs.

Obviously, not all of these people are content with lives of government dependence. But a certain percentage certainly is. And another certain percentage is susceptible to being seduced. I’ll leave it up to the readers to determine what those percentages are, and to decide for themselves whether these statistics represent a cultural crisis or not.

For Millions, Obamacare is Welfare

This week’s CBO report helps to confirm human nature once again.

But Keynesian liberals still aren’t buying it. The key to economic recovery, Democrats contend, is to place artificial demand into the economy via wealth redistribution. With money in their pockets, the poor will purchase goods and services from the people who had the money taken from them in the first place. Soon, business owners will be hiring again. And all the millions of welfare recipients will be excited to remove themselves from the dole and take a job.

That’s the Democratic script.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) have argued that “for every dollar a person receives in food stamps…$1.79 is put back into the economy;” that unemployment payments and food stamps “are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do;” that they are “the biggest bang for the buck.”

And, among several similar pronouncements, Obama famously told the world in 2008, “I believe when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

So it should have come as no surprise several months ago when the New York Times admitted that “the redistribution of wealth has always been a central feature of the [Obamacare] law.”

Imagine No Worries At All

This week’s CBO calculation is hardly forcing an ideological retreat. Rather, Democrats continued to characterize socialism as an economic driver while allowing their Marxist sensibilities to shine through – as they celebrated a utopian world of guarantees, and self-indulgence over labor.

While the CBO estimated that millions of Americans will become more economically idle as they become accustomed to their healthcare handouts, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney rejoiced over the fact that “individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods.” They will be able to “spend more time with their families” and will “have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Yes, Jay, at other people’s expense.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D) argued that “people are going to have freedom and choice…Liberty! Something we thought Republicans were for…They’ll be able to be entrepreneurs, because they won’t be stuck in job-lock.”

Moore was echoing something that Nancy Pelosi (D) attempted to articulate last summer. One week before the Fourth of July, Pelosi encouraged everyone to celebrate the “health independence” that was made possible by the Affordable Care Act, legislation that “captures the spirit of our Founders” by enabling people to pursue “a healthier life and the liberty to pursue a person’s happiness, to be free of constraint, be job-locked because they’re policy-locked…So if you wanted to be a cameraman, a writer, you want to be self-employed, if you want to be, start a business, if you want to change jobs, whatever it is you want to do, you are free, you have the liberty to do.”

Pelosi forgot to mention “stay in bed” in her list of people’s potential activities.

Welcome to the modern Democratic Party – where dependence on others is actually “health independence;” and forcing others to pay for your healthcare is referred to as “liberty.”

Welcome to the modern Democratic Party – where everyone gets to act like a college sophomore for the rest of their lives!

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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