Within the last three months, two small Midwestern towns have served as backdrops for two high-profile political speeches articulating two vastly different prescriptions for America’s woes. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: I preferred Indianola. You? But let’s break this down anyway.
Speaking aptly in Osawatomie, home of the Kansas state mental hospital, President Obama this week trotted out his tiresome accusation that the American Dream basically ceased functioning when George W. Bush became the 43rd president 10 years ago. No matter how many years pass, no matter how many majorities and Super Majorities the Democrats may have enjoyed, Bush and the greedy 1% have stolen the American Dream in record time, with alarming efficiency, even, miraculously, when they are not in control of the government!
The bottomline of Osawatomie (and there are no surprises here): we must raise taxes on the rich, increase regulations, and spend our way to prosperity, all while demonizing half the country at every turn. Working hard no longer pays off because Bush and the “evil” Republicans cut taxes on the wealthy, fought job-killing regulations, thereby deliberately destroying the middle class, many of whom are actually employed by the wealthy, strangely. There was no mention that the average unemployment rate under President Bush was nearly half the rate as under President Obama, and the annual deficit three times less. We’re spending more to achieve less employment. Go figure!
Here’s a snippet of Obama’s speech:
My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton’s Army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out.
And these values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known. It was here in America that the most productive workers, the most innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth. And you know what? Every American shared in that pride and in that success — from those in the executive suites to those in middle management to those on the factory floor. So you could have some confidence that if you gave it your all, you’d take enough home to raise your family and send your kids to school and have your health care covered, put a little away for retirement.
But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments — wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t — and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.
Now, the thing I’ve never understood about class warfare is the lack of logic. To put it in terms I can understand, let’s say my neighbor decides he’s not content with his current job as a bartender at the local pub, so he enrolls in business school, gets a job as a low-level manager, works 15-hour days for five years, and goes on to become a high-fallutin’ corporate executive for the Hershey Company. And, having come up with a new formula for guilt-free chocolate that explodes worldwide sales, he is rewarded with a million-dollar salary and perks that would make Albert Pujols blush.
Meanwhile, I’m still sitting on my butt blogging all day while eking out a lower-middle-class income from the occasional freelance gig. How does my neighbor’s success harm me? Even if the government does the unTHINKABLE and cuts his tax rate, how does that harm me? Well, according to the class warriors, I’m harmed because my filthy rich hard-working executive neighbor is not sending more of his ill-gotten chocolate proceeds to Washington D.C. so government bureaucrats can use it to help me! I mean CRIMINEY, I need a green energy grant, and a scholarship to study engineering, so I can build high-speed trains, for crying out loud! Instead, the evil Republicans are allowing my neighbor to keep the majority of his money and BLOW it all right here in Hershey, P.A. as he sees FIT. Can you believe it?
I say, that’s a rotten deal, right? I mean, obviously, by not making my neighbor send more of his money to D.C., that’s causing me to sit on my butt and blog even more, and become at risk of falling out of the middle class. The more money he spends here in Hershey building the local economy, the less that is available to be spent building the D.C. economy, thereby destroying MY middle-class opportunities, dammit!
Thank you President Obama … for reminding us how INCOME INEQUALITY hurts all of us. The more someone else earns … the more I want what they have. The bigger the gap between their salary and mine, the more guilty I feel for sitting on my butt, and the more I feel obliged to rack up obscene amounts of credit card debt just to assuage my guilt. And the more my wealthy neighbor spends on lousy things like building hospital wings and orphanages, the less MY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAMILY has available to spend on solar panels and guns for Mexican drug lords. It’s tragic.
(Note: I just wanted to remind everyone that professional baseball players who earn $25 million per year are exempt from our INCOME INEQUALITY rage … Obviously, they EARN their money the old-fashioned way … by running around a field for six months out of the year, tossing around a ball, and spitting tobacco all over the place.)
Meanwhile, speaking of fields, in Indianola, Iowa, home to the famous Balloon Grounds, Gov. Sarah Palin delivered an entirely different address this past September. I was there in the audience with a few thousand of my closest friends. I didn’t hear any nebulous attacks on “evil” rich folks … I did hear an awful lot about actual corruption and how that creates more and more debt and government dysfunction for me AND my “evil” rich neighbor to have to pay off. We honest folks, rich and poor, are all in this together, right?
Here’s a snippet:
And what is the President’s answer to this enormous debt problem? It’s just spend more money. Only you can’t call it “spending” now. Now you got to call it “investing.” Don’t call it “spending.” Call it “investing.” It’s kind of like what happens with FEMA and some of these other bureaucratic agencies that don’t really want to refer to our centralized federal government as “government.” Now it’s called the “federal family.” Am I too old to ask to be emancipated? Never thought I’d say it, but I want a divorce.
No, the President’s answer to our debt problem is: Incur more debt. Spend more money (only call it “investing”). Make more folks even more reliant on government to supply their every need. This is the antithesis of the pioneering American spirit that empowered the individual to work, to produce, to be able to thrive and succeed with fulfillment and with pride; and that in turn built our free and hope-filled and proud country.
He wants to “Win The Future” by “investing” more of your hard-earned money in some harebrained ideas like more solar panels and really fast trains. These are things that venture capitalists will tell you are non-starters, yet he wants to do more of them. We’re flat broke, but he thinks these solar panels and really fast trains are going to magically save us. He’s shouting “all aboard Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
The only future that Barack Obama is trying to win is his own re-election, and he has shown that he’s perfectly willing to mortgage our children’s future to pay for it. And there is proof of this. Just look closely at where all that “green energy” stimulus money is “invested.” See a pattern. The President’s big campaign donors got nice returns for their “investments” in him to the tune of billions of your tax dollars in the form of “green energy” stimulus funds. The technical term for this is “pay-to-play.” Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union bosses’ security and “green energy” giveaways, he took care of his friends. And now they’re on course to raise a billion dollars for his re-election bid so that they can do it all over again. Are you going to let them do it all over again? Are you willing to unite to do all we can to not let them do it again so we can save our country?
Governor Palin described specific problems (crony capitalism and unsustainable debt) and offered specific solutions (balanced budget, greater state autonomy, elimination of both the corporate tax rate AND corporate welfare).
President Obama simply and indiscriminately demonized anyone who happens to earn a lot of money, accusing them of not paying their “fair” share — whatever that means. He also demonized Republicans NINE times in his speech – as if he were president of only HALF a country.
Governor Palin didn’t mention either party at all — not once — except to call out both the GOP and President Obama for practicing crony capitalism and sending trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign contributors.
It’s no small wonder that the speeches garnered completely different receptions.
Governor Palin’s speech received praise from The New York Times of all places for being “substantive “and having the potential to “bridge the political divide.”
President Obama’s speech was rated three Pinocchio’s by the Washington Post for rampant untruths.
When it comes to Indianola vs. Osawatomie …. there really was no comparison. Governor Palin poignantly pointed the way forward. President Obama wallowed in class-warfare delusion.