The Left's Rights Scam

The left invariably frames its policy pronouncements under the mantle of so-called "rights" that only the government can guarantee.  The implication being that all citizens are entitled and guaranteed, by virtue of living in the United States, to what is defined as a "right."  Much of this current approach by the so-called Progressives stems from the State of the Union address delivered by Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 in which he laid out what is commonly referred to as the "Second Bill of Rights."  It is a consolidation of socialist thinking begun in the mid-nineteenth century.

These tenets, never contemplated by the founding fathers as God-given rights, have nonetheless become the foundational principle of the Democratic Party.  Democrats' successful attempt, along with the tacit concurrence of many in the Republican Party, to force this dogma on American society has entailed at least partial realization of the following:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; and
  • The right to a good education.

While these are admirable goals for any society, it is impossible to guarantee these ideals.  Yet when liberals frame and promote these goals as "rights," the expectation of much the populace is that these are in fact entitlements that every American should be guaranteed.  It also becomes much easier for the politicians to manipulate the voters by paying lip-service to these "rights" and spending the country into oblivion in order to provide them.

Out of this mindset has come the minimum wage laws, the creation of innumerable federal agencies to regulate and monitor all aspects of business, 160,000 pages of federal regulations and a tax code exceeding 80,000 pages, Medicare and Medicaid, an overwhelming litany of various welfare and social programs, Social Security, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the creation of seven new presidential cabinet secretaries since Franklin Roosevelt, ObamaCare, federal intrusion into local education matters, the institution of public-sector unions, and the loss of liberty and individual freedom through the unfettered growth of government.

What has this cost the people of the United States?  A society at odds with itself while bent on class warfare and self-satisfaction as the future of succeeding generations is made untenable.  From a strictly financial perspective, the picture comes into focus by comparing the last fifty years (1962 to 2012, with 1962 inflation adjusted to 2012 dollars).





Total National Debt

       $  2.3  Trillion

       $ 15.2 Trillion

       $  12.9 Trillion

Debt as a percent of Gross Domestic Product







Total Government Spending (all levels)


        $ 1.3  Trillion


        $  6.2 Trillion       


       $   4.9 Trillion

It is projected that by 2016, if no changes are made, the total national debt will be over $21.5 trillion; the debt as a percent of GDP will be in excess of 113%, and overall government spending will exceed $8.0 trillion.

This scenario has come about as a direct result of injecting the Roosevelt "Second Bill of Rights" into the mainstream of American political thinking, coupled with the belief that the phenomenal economic growth the nation experienced over the past fifty years would go on in perpetuity.  Therefore, the well-worn adage of "If the United States can (fill in the blank), why can't we provide (fill in the blank) for the American people?" became the standard justification for any new program necessary to guarantee these newly found "rights." 

Unfortunately, this mindset is not limited to the Democratic Party.  The mainstream of the Republican Party for much of the past fifty years has been aiding and abetting this philosophical approach by simply slowing down the spending but not making a case for why these policies and programs are not "rights," but goals a nation and its peoples should strive to achieve.  The only God-given "rights" a government must guarantee are those enumerated in the Constitution: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Not the assurance of, but the environment to allow all to pursue, happiness.

In 2012 the Republican Party elites, despite the dire future facing the country, have not come to grips with why.  Their preferred candidate for the presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, said as recently as 2004 that "[f]air and affordable housing should be a right, not a privilege."  In 2003, George W. Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress, including Rick Santorum, who is also a candidate for president, voted for and passed a massive increase in Medicare spending through a new prescription drug program.  The debate leading up to passage revealed the frequent use of the words "rights" and "entitled" when it came to the needs of senior citizens.

The United States will never solve its fiscal or societal dilemmas until its citizens, led by principled leaders unafraid to tell the truth, understand what "rights" are and that life is inherently inequitable and difficult.  Government, which is made up of fallible human beings, cannot make life fair and guarantee equal outcomes; it can only provide a framework to enable the individual to pursue those goal.  The history of mankind has shown that to do otherwise condemns that nation to an inevitable collapse in which all its people pay the ultimate price.