Remember when President Clinton moved to the center with his 100,000 policemen policy? You couldn't move politically without running into those 100,000 policemen being added to the beat.
Now President Obama is moving to the center with 100,000 teachers. That was the center piece of his 2011 State of the Union speech. Thus we are tempted to haul out the old Marxian line about history repeating itself as farce.
But as for getting the federal government's fiscal house in order, here's the key takeaway:
I recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. (Applause.) And let’s make sure that what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.
Never mind about the weak simile about overloaded airplanes. Let's focus on the key point, "the backs of our most vulnerable citizens." Because that really is the key to the next few years.
Here we are, with a trillion a year in government pensions, a trillion dollars a year in government health care, a trillion dollars a year in government education, and half a trillion dollars a year in government welfare. And it's all supposed to take a load off the back of our most vulnerable citizens. In fact, though, it has encouraged people to make themselves dependent upon government. There are millions of people who take advantage of government programs, and thus, if there are going to be cuts, people will suffer. But this is a failure of government. If this $3.5 trillion a year in help for the most vulnerable actually helped them to build independent and productive lives it would be one thing. But we know that in fact the reverse is true. Government programs encourage people to make themselves less independent, and to make themselves vulnerable so that they can qualify for government assistance.
President Obama calls for another 100,000 teachers. He calls for innovation. He calls for clean energy. He calls for high-speed rail. But all this is stuff that government already does very badly. Its education is a mess, particularly for the children of the most vulnerable. Clean energy is expensive energy that necessarily is paid for by higher energy prices that fall most heavily on the most vulnerable. High-speed rail is most suitable for government managers traveling from New York to Washington DC, or Los Angeles to Sacramento. It's not going to help the most vulnerable.
The government sector is the sector of force. It is suitable for things that need political power and force. It needs an enemy to conquer, the forces of evil to subdue. But innovation? That takes a bourgeoisie dignified and free, Mr. President. And if we are going to make the vulnerable into strong independent citizens that can contribute to society then we must free them from the narcotic of government and give them the tools to stand on their own and give back to society in work and in generosity.
Today is the first day of the future of America. Let's start that journey with a reality check. Government doesn't do innovation. It doesn't do compassion. It doesn't do anything except break things. President Obama's plan for the future is nothing more than another of Barney Frank's roll of the dice with Fannie and Freddie. And we know how that turned out.