"Divide and conquer" is The One's election game....
And contrary to the Democrats' favorite current political meme, income inequality did not widen under President Bush--it narrowed. Further, as the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank concluded in a recent study, incomes have risen even when the income gap did at times widen.
Recently Paul Ryan condemned Obama's divisive politics in a major DC speech. Here are key paragraphs, summing up the President's cynical politics:
To my great disappointment, it appears that the politics of division are making a big comeback. Many Americans share my disappointment – especially those who were filled with great hope a few years ago, when then-Senator Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield, Illinois.
Do you remember what he said? He said that what’s stopped us from meeting our nation’s greatest challenges is, quote, “the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics – the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.”
I couldn’t agree more.
And yet, nearly three years into his presidency, look at where we are now:
Petty and trivial? Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, quote, “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care? Chronic avoidance of tough decisions? The President still has not put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt, and it’s been over 900 days since his party passed a budget in the Senate. A preference for scoring cheap political points instead of consensus-building? This is the same President who is currently campaigning against a do-nothing Congress, when in fact, the House of Representatives has passed over a dozen bills to help get the economy moving and deal with the debt, only to see the President’s party kill those bills in the do-nothing Senate.
Mark Steyn skewers Joe Biden's "fourth grade economics"; here is a small sample from a brilliant column on our education mess.
Don’t worry, it’s a book with a happy ending! U.S.-government spending is sustainable as long as by 2020 the rest of the planet is willing to sink 19 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. And why wouldn’t they? After all, if you’re a Chinese politburo member or a Saudi prince or a Russian kleptocrat or a Somali pirate and you switched on CNN International and chanced to catch Joe Biden’s Fourth Grade Economics class, why wouldn’t you cheerily dump a fifth of your GDP into a business model with such a bright future?
Since 1970, public-school employment has increased ten times faster than public-school enrollment. In 2008, the United States spent more per student on K–12 education than any other developed nation except Switzerland — and at least the Swiss have something to show for it. In 2008, York City School District spent $12,691 per pupil — or about a third more than the Swiss. Slovakia’s total per-student cost is less than York City’s current per-student deficit — and the Slovak kids beat the United States at mathematics, which may explain why their budget arithmetic still has a passing acquaintanceship with reality. As in so many other areas of American life, the problem is not the lack of money but the fact that so much of the money is utterly wasted.
But that’s no reason not to waste even more! So the president spent last week touring around in his weaponized Canadian bus telling Americans that Republicans were blocking plans to “put teachers back in the classroom.” Well, where are they now? Not every schoolmarm is down at the Occupy Wall Street drum circle, is she? No, indeed. And in that respect York City is a most instructive example: Five years ago (the most recent breakdown I have), the district had 440 teachers but 295 administrative and support staff. If you’re thinking that sounds a little out of whack, that just shows what a dummy you are: For every three teachers we “put back in the classroom,” we need to hire two bureaucrats to put back in the bureaucracy to fill in the paperwork to access the federal funds to put teachers back in the classroom. One day it will be three educrats for every two teachers, and the system will operate even more effectively.
So what does Obama do? He plans to add more loan relief for 38 million student loan recipients. This, for a program that already represents a trillion-dollar liability on America's books, with many unlikely to pay. Half that liability was incurred in the past five years--three of those years during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And all, mind you, for an educational system that produces flat-line results at best.
Meanwhile, George Will shows how super-lefty regulator Elizabeth Warren, an Obama favorite ideological soul-mate now running for Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate seat, twists the social contract by denying the existence of genuine individual achievement because it occurs in a larger societal context:
Everyone knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context. This does not, however, entail a collectivist political agenda.
Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.
But the real social contract protects individual rights, rather than empowering government officials to determine their extent:
Warren’s emphatic assertion of the unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behaviors by others — misses this point: It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously. Liberalism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.
Society — hundreds of millions of people making billions of decisions daily — is a marvel of spontaneous order among individuals in voluntary cooperation. Government facilitates this cooperation with roads, schools, police, etc. — and by getting out of its way. This is a sensible, dynamic, prosperous society’s “underlying social contract.”
Liberal--but honest--Joseph Nocera (t/h Jonathan Tobin) writes how the 1987 smearing of Judge Robert Bork midwifed the poisoned politics of today; Bork, a brilliant, superbly qualified jurist, was falsely portrayed as a right-wing nut-case. Another tool in Team Obama's toolbox is vote fraud, which could sway a close election.
Yet Obama may yet be saved and win re-election--by the Republicans. The GOP debate circus may eliminate the most electable GOP candidates, partly due to the insane debate format, one that favors fringe candidates --who also benefit from what Michael Barone calls a "revolt against experts" driven by serial mega-failures by experts. And Mitt Romney, famously poll-driven, actually told the politically unpalatable truth about the mortgage market as reported by the WSJ editors:
One is, don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up. Let it turn around and come back up. The Obama Administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed, and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.
Romney said this, the WSJ editors note, with the average house price having fallen from 2.75 times mortgage value to under 1.75 times same, about a 40 percent drop. Democrats already have a 30-second ad on this, implying that Romney is indifferent to the pain market clearance would cause. Such pain would be sharper but shorter, a trade-off politicians routinely avoid like the bubonic plague. Add to that a Washington Post report on disappointing housing policy results, and worse, new Obama policies ostensibly offering aid to all homeowners, no matter how deep underwater they are--the first round of Obama housing aid helped less than one percent of underwater mortgagees.
Bottom Line. So at the very time that President Obama divides the nation, and the global economic and social fabric rends in multiple places around the planet, we need to come together and develop radical solutions to our economic and budgetary messes. Will not--CANNOT--happen now. It takes an election--provided it yields a definitive result one way or another--to break such a mega-impasse. We can only pray that the deluge does not come before the new administration takes office--and even then, that it is one ready for real reform before it is too late. For that to happen it must NOT be a second OBAMA TERM.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics