March 10, 2009
Let 'Em PayBy Paul Kengor
There's a collective outcry from conservatives bemoaning the "generational debt" that President Obama is in the process of placing upon this country, particularly its youth. They're right, of course. But why complain?
It seems only fitting to me that the voters responsible for electing Obama ought to be saddled with the consequences. Let ‘em pay.
After the election, I wrote a piece for American Thinker on how America's youth, particularly the college crowd, made Barack Obama president. According to MSNBC exit poll data, those aged 18 to 29, who made up nearly one in five voters -- or about 25 million ballots -- went for Obama by more than two to one: 66 to 32 percent.
This was an enormous cache of ballots, enough to far surpass Obama's overall popular advantage.
Even wider was the margin in a related, crossover category: first-time voters. They went for Obama by 69 to 30 percent. A third related category, single (unmarried) voters, which was one in three voters, went for Obama by 65 to 33 percent.
These categories capture the youth vote.
Many of these people were instructed by their college professors to vote for Obama, or were at least influenced by the socialistic, humanistic milieu of the modern secular-left campus.
The professors, of course, are the true left-wing ideologues. They voted for the right guy. Obama represents what they've preached for decades, whereas their students are too young with too few life experiences to realize what they were doing. The students were dupes.
Still, there's some justice in this for the professors as well: They will now watch the chickens come home to roost, as their 401(k)s and 403(b)s continue to shrink, and as they find themselves paying higher taxes, with their cushy tenure and labor unions of no help.
Of course, being leftists, they will blame the mess on President Bush. Part of being a liberal is seeing the world the way you want.
Still, that's a pretty hard sell, even to the most delusional leftist. Sure, President Bush spent money like a drunken sailor. He left office with a record $400-billion deficit, after inheriting a surplus from his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton. There were many reasons for the deficit -- some his fault, others not.
Nonetheless, George W. Bush never, in eight years, in his most freewheeling spending sprees, doled out the dollars like the new president has in just eight weeks. In fact, no president in history has spent like the current one. President Obama's "stimulus" package alone is testimony to that fact -- an utterly unnecessary, ridiculous, nonsensical, direct culprit for the explosion in the deficit from $400 billion to an estimated (and unthinkable) $1.7 trillion for 2010. That's Obama own projection.
The blame for this calamity goes strictly to Obama and the troupe of Democratic Party collectivists and central planners that Americans have elected to govern them.
And that brings me back to "let ‘em pay."
In addition to the nation's youth vote, here are a few added categories of Obama voters who will now unwittingly help their president spread the wealth:
Our friends on the religious left, from liberal Protestants to social-justice Catholics, will experience a drying up of the revenue streams that fund their beloved charities, not merely as a result of the slowing economy but through Obama's changes on charitable deductions. That money will instead go to things like taxpayer-funded abortion at all stages of pregnancy, at home and even abroad. Once again, the religious left may be the biggest dupes of all.
But equal due goes to a surprising group of fellow travelers; those that Democrat Party redistributionists demonize the most: the rich. The idea that the rich reflexively vote Republican is yet another of those enduring class-warfare myths pushed by liberals. The left uses that poisonous canard to sow the class envy that serves its purposes at polling centers and in centralizing power and money.
In 2008, the wealthiest category of voters were those making over $200,000 per year. They voted for Obama, by 52 to 46%. Some of them, like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, have written op-ed pieces for the New York Times with titles like, "Please raise my taxes." Well, Mr. Hastings, it looks like your new president is taking you up on the generous offer. Enjoy. Enjoy paying for manure research in Tom Harkin's Iowa as part of your noble contribution to America's economic recovery.
These successful Americans already pay the literal majority of tax revenues. The president they have elected has decided that's not enough. Time to pony up some more.
Who else will pay?
Those working women, who, according to MSNBC exit polls, constituted almost one in three voters, and went for Obama by a staggering margin, 60 to 39%. These ladies should plan to hand over an even higher percentage of their after-tax income to daycare, or simply work more overtime, which also equates to more money for daycare. I hope they can break that glass ceiling, because their new president needs about $1.7 trillion.
Alas, also poised to pay is that most "thoughtful" and "independent" of all voters, the one group that truly turned the tide for Obama: the "moderates." The data now confirm that the moderates were the unpredictable wild card that determined the presidential election, given that John McCain got 90% of Republicans and Obama got 89% of Democrats. Which way would the independent/moderate voter lean in November 2008? This huge group of swing voters went for Obama by eight points, 52 to 44%, and thereby decided the election in favor of the most left-wing presidential candidate in American history. These sophisticated non-partisans can now thoughtfully, independently pay their dues -- a lot of dues, billions upon billions of dollars worth, actually trillions.
Among all these advocates for "change," I'd like to share a parting thought on the college students who elected Obama, perhaps because I'm a professor:
According to averages, these college voters will be set to graduate over the next one to five years, when they will enter the workforce and become taxpayers, some at quite good salaries -- assuming they can find a job -- and where they will experience America's progressive income tax system that penalizes them as they work harder and climb the ladder of financial success. When they get there, a grateful Obama will be ready to lend a hand.
It will be an eager hand, since Obama has said that he hopes (and this is a best-case scenario) to cut next year's projected $1.7-trillion deficit in half by the end of his term in four years -- which would still be twice the size of the record Bush deficit.
Four years? That should be just in time for these new Obama graduates to pay up. We can look forward to getting our hands on their wallets for some badly needed tax revenues. Thanks, guys -- see you soon!
And, oh, when you get there, write a letter of gratitude to your professors back at the Sociology and Feminist Studies departments, who will be blaming Bush for their dwindling pensions and duly passing the torch to a whole new generation of suckers.
Paul Kengor is author of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperPerennial, 2007) and professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007).