July 16, 2012
It's Not Fair!By Ed Lasky
President Obama is right. There is a lot of unfairness in America. And he is the source of much of it.
Last time I heard so much talk about fairness -- as in the plaintive "that's not fair" -- was when my children were toddlers. But Obama seems to think that the word will have some spellbinding effect when wielded against the wealthy Mitt Romney.
Barack Obama has ditched the "hope and change" slogan of his 2008 campaign and is now peddling "fairness" as his mantra. He promises he will make life "fair" for Americans. He launched his strategy when he called up the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas back in December. It is redolent, too, of the come from behind victory of Harry Truman who preached a "Fair Deal" for Americans.
Obama followed it up by trying to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act -- a law supposedly designed to help women sue business for gender-based wage discrimination. Even the Washington Post thought it was deeply flawed, and it was struck down in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But it has played into the "fairness" and "Republican War on Women" campaign talking points.
Before that there was talk of resurrecting the "Fairness Doctrine" to kill off talk radio.
Then the Buffett Rule was supposed to ensure the "rich" paid their fair share of taxes and that too was a "fairness fiction" that nevertheless played a supporting role in President Obama's Class War (the only war he supports other than the war against the GOP -- in his mind, a redundancy).
But does Obama himself pass a "fairness test"?
Can the Romney campaign use political jujitsu against Barack Obama and remind Americans of just how unfair Barack Obama's presidency has been for so many Americans?
Obama's latest fairness gambit was his proposal to allow taxes to rise for high earners -- for families, anyone earning more than $250,000 annually -- while keeping the Bush tax cuts for those below that figure. The disparate treatment was justified in the interests of "fairness." Of course, the net effect would be harmful since so many job creators earn more than $250,000 per year. The fuel that drives job creation would be sucked into Washington, D.C., already among the economically healthiest areas of the nation. Is that fair to workers looking for jobs?
Obama signaled his desire to take money away from the "rich" very early in his career -- even going back to his community organizing days. Most Americans only became aware of his agenda in 2008 when he touted that he wanted to "spread the wealth" but there was also a time before this when the self-declared master poker play showed his hand. He told Charles Gibson that he wanted to raise capital gain taxes even if government revenues would fall -- all in the interest- again, that magical word"fairness." Imagine -- the biggest spending President in American history would rather take money away from people than increase the amount the government takes in every year.
However, Obama's presidency fails the fairness test in many more ways.
Is it fair that one half of all Americans pay no federal income tax? They have an interest in extracting as much money from the government -- that is, taxpayers -- as they can. Coincidentally or not, that seems to be the same level of rock solid support for Obama.
Barack Obama has helped create this permanent dependency-not just by his anti-growth policies-but by subtly and stealthily changing the definition of the "poverty level" in ways that triggers, literally, a never-ending redistribution of income. Once this poverty level is met, a range of welfare benefits become available.
On top of that bureaucratic tactic, the administration recently (and quietly) invited -- in a possibly illegal act -- states to apply for waivers to the work requirement that was a centerpiece of welfare reform and was one of the most successful anti-poverty measures in American history.
Stanley Kurtz characterized Barack Obama as Senator Stealth, based on the secretive ways he fiddled with legislation when he served in the Illinois Senate -- far from the public eye and media scrutiny. Now he has become President Stealth-and this from a man who promised the most transparent administration in history.
Is it fair that so few people in the media informed the public of these changes -- ones that redefine the concept of welfare, gut welfare reform, and that will massively expand the welfare rolls?
One way to help this transformation along is for the government to run ads promoting people sign up for food stamps and to make it easy for people to sign up for Social Security disability payments (new enrollees in the program last month exceeded the number of people landing jobs). While people struggle to find and keep jobs, Barack Obama has made it far easier to go on welfare-welfare spending has exploded since the earliest days of the Obama presidency http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/06/confronting-the-unsustainable-growth-of-welfare-entitlements-principles-of-reform-and-the-next-steps .
What became of John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country"? Barack Obama seems to have updated it to "ask what your President can take for you."
Obama boasted he would fundamentally transform America, and so he has in ways that would strike many hardworking taxpayers as being unfair.
The richest 1% -- so reviled by Obama and his Occupy Wall Street allies -- pay 40% of all federal income taxes and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax. These are often the same people who take the biggest risk to start and grow a business (think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates) and generate jobs. If their tax rates go up, there will be fewer jobs created.
Is that fair?
Is it fair that so many powerful Democrats -- including his own Treasury Secretary -- preach tax fairness (Geithner said it was incumbent for rich people to pay even more in taxes for the "privilege" of being Americans) yet underpay their own taxes?
Is it fair that tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were wasted in green energy projects tied to Obama donors? Obama claimed that the funding for these projects were based solely on their merits-a claim disproven by a string of emails and other evidence showing overt favoritism showered on donors' ventures. As Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweitzer discovered:
Obama has wasted taxpayer dollars to reward campaign supporters. He did, after all, define politics as a way to punish your enemies and reward your friends.
The real scandal is Obama's massive waste of taxpayer dollars on these "green schemes" that are going belly-up at a rapid clip (see Marc Theissen's column "Forget Bain-Obama's public equity record is the real scandal" )
Romney was risking investors' private money, not using taxpayer money to reward political donors for their campaign help.
Yet all the media focuses on is Mitt Romney and Bain and mythical outsourcing tales.
The friends and family of the slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry would like to know why he was killed with a gun that was part of the dangerous, disastrous and foolish Fast and Furious Program and who in the government was responsible for this fiasco? Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder has not only been stonewalling the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but now has been shielded by Barack Obama's controversial use of executive privilege. Obama extended this privilege in a novel way that has never been done by a President before. Senator Obama was quite critical of George Bush when he used executive privilege to try to preserve national security secrets, yet Obama sees no problem using it to protect his friend's reputation, even as the Terry family suffers. Where is the fairness in that hypocrisy?
This same friend of Barack's, Eric Holder, has turned the Department of Justice into an adjunct to the Democratic Party, has accused supporters of Voter ID laws of being racist, has refused to prosecute a clear case of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party, disgracefully stokes racism -- yet has the gall to call America a "nation of cowards" on the topic of race.
Barack Obama wrote a memoir that has now been revealed to have been marked by major "inaccuracies" (if not distortions and lies) about Obama's life. In 2008, journalists could have checked the veracity of his self-portrayal. They did not. Not one.
The false narrative he has peddled includes a fable about his mother fighting with her insurance company over whether the company would cover her medical expenses. In 2008, Obama made this narrative a central part of his campaign. It was also a lie-and one he knew was a lie since he handled the legal issues involved over the dispute. Despite the truth being uncovered in 2011, his campaign continued to fudge the truth about the case in his campaign film "The Road We Traveled."
Is it fair that so few in the media reported on this shameful and disgraceful use of his mother's death for political purposes? Is it fair that no one checked the truth of Obama's version back in 2008?
Yet, when Sarah Palin had already given up her political career, she wrote a memoir that Associated Press assigned eleven reporters to fact-check.
The Washington Post even investigated Romney's teenage years to dig up whatever dirt they could find on a man who many would consider has led an exemplary personal life. The paper reported on a putative bullying incident; the family of the supposed target objected to the paper's treatment, and the story faded because people realized its irrelevance to what it told us about the man who Mitt Romney has become.
Has the Washington Post or the New York Times given similar front-page treatment to other stories that may reveal the character of that man? Has the media reported on his all out efforts to take command-and marshal the resources of Bain Capital-to find the missing daughter of a Bain employee? Or the story of his rescue of a family (and their pet dog) from a sinking ship back in 2003?
Is that fair to Romney?
Recently, Obama called for Mitt Romney to release more records about his life because someone wanting to be president should be an "open book." The hypocrisy is palpable; Obama has refused to show Americans his health report, academic records, his Columbia University thesis -- that he says was lost (a young man of such self-regard that he wrote a memoir in his twenties, lost his thesis?), and had his office records from his state senate days destroyed. And now he has the gall to call on Romney to be more "open"! This demand is even more hypocritical in light of Obama's use of executive privilege and the fact that he has run one of the least transparent administrations in recent history.
Yet the media is silent.
Are such double standards fair?
Indeed, is it fair that 88% of political contributions from journalists went to Democrats -- as if the media favoritism and bias showered on Democrats in the mainstream media were not enough support.
Barack Obama is forcing Catholic groups to offer free contraceptives and abortifacients through their insurance programs, in violation of church teachings, while Muslim groups -- along with other religious groups -- are allowed to seek exemptions from requirements that they purchase health insurance under. Is that fair?
Is it fair to force everyone else to buy health insurance?
Senator Max Baucus, one of the key senators behind ObamaCare, admitted that the purpose of the act was "redistribution of wealth". After all, most Americans are happy with their current health insurance but Democrats ignored that fact in order to push through a redistribution scheme. Is it fair that the media failed to report Baucus's admission
Isn't it news when a politician tells the truth?
Medicare will be gutted to fund ObamaCare.
Is that fair to our senior citizens who have spent their working lives to fund that program?
Is it fair that they may get a double whammy when the Independent Payment Advisory Board starts operating and decides what types of medical care will be available to people, regardless of doctor and patient wishes? That will ineluctably lead to rationing. Perhaps, the much reviled term "death panel" was not so far off the mark.
Is it fair that a large portion of the stimulus went to government workers when the same workers enjoy salary and benefit packages far exceeding comparable workers in the private sector?
MSNBC doctored a video of Mitt Romney to make him look foolish and out of touch. They did not apologize when the editing was discovered.
Barack Obama has a long history of making foolish statements (they speak Austrian in Austria, America has 57 states, Hawaii is in Asia, Arkansas is near West Virginia, Canada has a president; America is 20 centuries old; it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to overturn a law; asthmatics need "breathalyzers" and "inhalators," mispronounced "corpseman," saw dead people during Memorial Day).
Michelle Malkin presciently characterized Barack Obama as a perpetual gaffe machine back in 2008. When not told what to say by his friendly teleprompter, America's greatest orator stammers and issues a string of "uhs". Nor has he improved with practice
Yet, while media outlets and comics made mincemeat out of George Bush's occasional gaffes (mocked as "Bushisms") and ridiculed him during his first presidential campaign for not knowing all the names of the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, and while videos are edited by the media to make Romney look foolish, Obama's flubs are edited out of videos by supporters in the media as if they never happened. And to most Americans reliant on major media outlets, they never did.
Or worse, we are told by one historian who was feted by Obama at a White House dinner that Barack Obama was the smartest president we have ever had and that his IQ is off the charts (for a differing view, peruse Jack Kelly's "Obama is not that bright").
Is that fair?
The Obama have a predilection for luxury travel; Barack Obama has an addiction to golf and enjoys pick- up basketball games -- sometimes with NBA stars; Obama spends more time fundraising than he does dealing with Congress to solve our problems, or so it seems; Obama has turned the East Room of the White House into his own private nightclub and has said that "we never need an excuse for a good party."
All the while Barack Obama preaches shared sacrifice and hectors people not to take vacations to Las Vegas or buy SUVs, millions of taxpayers struggle to pay their household bills.
Is this fair?
Is it fair that after the first three years of the Obama presidency, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and millions of fewer Americans have jobs today than on the day he took office
Is it fair that his daughters get to attend a fancy private school (he admits their future is now assured) but he deprived other children in Washington, D.C. of brighter prospects by killing the voucher program in Washington, D.C., to serve the interests of the teachers unions instead of the children ?
When Bush did (fill in the blank) he was excoriated by the media but when Obama did (fill in the same answer) there are sounds of silence.
Possible entries: issuing executive orders, signing statements, running deficits, accumulating more debt, lifting debt ceilings (policies Senator Obama criticized George Bush for following and then engaging them with abandon when he became President), keeping Gitmo open, trying terror suspects through the military court system, imprisoning terror suspects indefinitely without charge or trial, assassinating terror suspects (even if innocent people are killed; never hear about those anymore), engaging in rendition that sends terror suspects to hellholes that make Gitmo look like the Ritz; all of the above and many more.
Again, are such double standards "fair"? Why does Obama escape not just criticism but even coverage? is that fair?
Is it fair that critics of Barack Obama are routinely disparaged as racists?
Donors to Romney's campaign are being targeted for harassment. Democratic operatives are delving into divorce and business records of the donors, smearing them in the process. The Obama campaign website engages in character assassination, describing these Romney supporters as having less-than-reputable records and making the extraordinary and false claim that "quite a few" have also been "on the wrong side of the law" and "profiting at the expense of so many Americans." Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal wrote in her column "The President Has a List: Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney's campaign":
Many journalists were inspired to enter their field by Watergate. One would think they would feel a duty to report such abhorrent Nixonian tactics. This course of conduct is not just intimidating but an invasion of privacy. One would think liberals -- who have such an expansive view of privacy that it encompasses abortion -- would be decrying this type of behavior by the President and his followers. Instead, the media seems to be in cahoots with the Obama campaign. The New York Times, for instance, has repeatedly hammered the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson for supporting Republicans, while displaying a see-no-evil, hear no evil approach mega-donors who support Obama and Democrats. Is that disparate treatment fair?
Is it fair that Obama has accumulated 5 trillion dollars more in debt in just the first three years of his Presidency-debt that our children and grandchildren (even those unborn) will have to pay off without ever having enjoyed any of the supposed benefits of the spending binge? This debt will suppress growth for years to come.
Barack Obama has been in frenzied campaign mode for months. While "where's the beef" may have made headlines during a presidential campaign decades ago, the whoppers have been found -- in Obama's mouth (alert Michelle!). He misrepresents on a compulsive basis his own life and his own record as President (on energy, the number of green jobs, on the economy, on the debt and deficit, on his spending, on ObamaCare-the list is endless (see "Barack Pinocchio Obama" by Fred Barnes for a sampling). One of his latest fantasy tales is how parsimonious, how frugal he has been as President. Even after this was exposed, he kept repeating the claim. Why let facts ruin propaganda?
Why stop there? Why not fib about the other guy, you know, the rich one?
He and his campaign have serially misrepresented what Mitt Romney is proposing and what he has accomplished in the past-particularly during his time at Bain Capital. Obama has tweeted a misleading message about Romney's taxes; he and his campaign have "jumped the shark" and misleadingly suggested Romney committed a crime-another egregiously false claim.
For good measures Barack Obama goes hyperbolic in portraying the dystopia that he alleges Republicans want to create ("GOP wants dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance" ; would it be nitpicking to point out the smartest man ever to be President has a problem with grammar -- "less" should be "fewer"; Republicans want a "moat" with "alligators" on the border with Mexico -- misleading, inflammatory, and in bad taste; the Democratic Party has stepped in with the claim that "Republicans voted to end Medicare" judged the lie of the year for 2011 by PolitiFact.com, yet one that Barack Obama has repeated despite its previous winning of the "Lie of the Year" award).
Indeed, he and his campaign seem to be impervious to criticism when it comes to the fabrications being criticized -- an impunity that bothers one noted fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, who is perturbed that the campaign keeps repeating false claims about Romney.
Where is the media coverage of the fabrications? Even if journalists are lazy and just republish campaign talking points, there are a variety of "free resources" for the lazy to check the veracity of claims. F act-checker sites are the rage and everyone Googles. Why hasn't the media covered the accuracy of Obama's claims? Even worse, media outlets are lapping up many millions of dollars running these claims in ads. Apparently, truth in advertising laws apply to soap but not to the President. The media's dereliction of duty has compelled the Romney campaign to run an ad rebutting the Obama campaign claims. The ad relies on the same fact-checkers that reporters are ignoring (one ad also points out that , in 2008, Hillary Clinton also accused Barack Obama of lying about her record).
Where is the fairness?
Last year, President Obama admitted he had no legal authority to grant illegal aliens exemption from our immigration laws and prevent them from being deported. From a recent New York Post editorial:
Since then, nothing has changed from a legal viewpoint. Congress has passed no new laws. But one thing has changed: Obama is no longer a shoo-in for reelection.
President Obama needs Hispanic votes in swing states. So he now miraculously finds that he has the power to issue an executive order to his Department of Homeland Security to prevent it from deporting illegal aliens who arrived in the U.S. as children and meet a few other conditions. Now it has been estimated 800,000 people who are not citizens can apply for work-during an era of high unemployment. Recently he closed nine border patrol offices -- another bit of Hispandering?
Is it fair that President Obama can issue such an executive order -- a lawless act, as Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer depicts it -- and win reelection based on the votes of people who favor the granting of such rights to illegal immigrants? That one act may tip the election to Obama -- and with it the imposition of even more Big Government on Americans.
Is that fair?
Is it fair liberals and the media who were so eager to accuse George Bush of ignoring the laws are quiet in the face of such power grabs by Barack Obama?
There are many more such examples that reveal the unfairness at the heart of the Obama presidency.
What could be wrong with the concept of "fairness"?
Fairness, like "hope and change," is subjective. These words are politically useful because they are elastic: people can supply their own definitions to them. But there is an important difference among the words. Hope and Change are optimistic and forward-looking.
Fairness is a different creature altogether. The word appeals to the lowest of emotions, envy. People who feel life has not been "fair" can be stoked to anger. "Fairness" was the rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street mob. That anger seems to be the President's goal. After all, he said in the midst of controversy over AIG bonuses back in 2009 that he did not want to "quell" the people's anger but to channel it in a "constructive way." Given his anti-business rhetoric, policies, and background (during his one stint working in business he wrote that he felt like a "spy behind enemy lines") he seems fine with generating rage. He was supportive of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, telling them, "You are the reason I ran for office." And this from a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Leaders should inspire their people; not try to stoke a sense of unfairness and grievance. But such a course was expressly advised by Saul Alinsky, who wrote of the value of nurturing grievances among people. Barack Obama has learned the lesson well.
Incidentally, who is to determine what is "fair"?
Observers of the last few years know the answer: Barack Obama from on high chooses winners and losers in ways similar to corrupt popes issuing indulgences hundreds of years ago.
Waivers from ObamaCare have been issued to favored groups (a large number of such waivers have been granted to unions and to businesses in Nancy Pelosi's district); a large number of states have been granted exemptions from parts of the No Child Left Behind Law; executive orders and signing statements are issued to favor allies; the XL pipeline was put on ice to satisfy wealthy donors who are environmentalists; Obama orders the Department of Justice not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act to please gay donors (a large percentage of Obama's bundlers are gay); creditor rights under bankruptcy law and pension plans of white collar workers were sacrificed when Obama chose to reward the United Auto Workers during the government bailout of the General Motors and Chrysler; unions (including those of overpaid government workers) have benefited from new government policies enacted by the Obama administration (unions provide a great deal of money and manpower for Obama's campaign).
Are any of these actions fair to other Americans not on the Friends of Barack A-List?
The rules and regulations spewing forth from government offices may be stifling growth but are chum for trial lawyers -- a key funding source for the Democratic Party and for Barack Obama. Fair to business and job seekers?
Is it a coincident that the list of people and groups benefiting from Obama's "fairness criteria" are congruent with those who help him personally? Is it fair that the President exercises his power with the same sense of responsibility as the most corrupt Chicago alderman? Is it fair that the rest of Americans have to pay the price for the favors dispensed by Barack Obama?
Barack Obama determines what is fair -- and that may be the most unfair thing of all about the Obama presidency.
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