Postmortem 2012: Victory for Ignorance
“Vote: The instrument and symbol of a free man’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.” - Ambrose Bierce, American Author
Nearly two weeks have passed since the 2012 elections, and we can begin to prepare a postmortem of this latest cycle in American politics. Despite the fact that, for all intents and purposes, the make-up of government has remained almost exactly the same, Obama and the Democrats are declaring a mandate for their agenda of growing government, higher taxes, more regulations, etc. Obama now repeats his demand that Republicans begin any budget talks by agreeing to increase taxes (“enhance revenues”, in euphemistic Washingtonian parlance). The left, gleeful at the re-election of Obama, tell the rest of us to “get over it” and stop fighting Obama’s agenda. I guess that makes sense. After all, almost immediately after the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the left was insisting that the country line up behind Bush because he’d won, saying we all need to support the president. Oh wait, that never happened…
After much contemplation, I’ve concluded that Obama voters fall generally into one of three categories; those that voted based on race, those that voted because they are hard-core leftists who agree with his policies, and the ignorant (this includes those who voted for him because he promised to be Santa Claus).Conservatives could do little to win over those who voted based on race or alignment with his Marxist ideology. However, where we failed was in showing the ignorant how voting for Obama was a losing proposition for them. Since ignorant (unlearned) is not the same as stupid (enable to learn), we retain the possibility of changing minds here, if we can effectively make the argument against Obama’s policies.
In the month before the election, I made three trips to try and persuade voters in swing districts (twice to Orlando, once to Roanoke, VA). It was here I discovered how truly ignorant many of the Obama voters are. Knocking doors in these districts, I’d ask, “Do you think that the president’s policies have helped or hurt the economy?” Of the hundreds of doors knocked, less than a half dozen enthusiastically stated his policies had helped. Most that said “helped” did so tentatively, like students taking a test and unsure of an answer, and hoping they’d guessed right.
With many of these unsure, I’d ask what specific policies Obama had enacted helped the economy, and most could not name even one. Of the few that attempted to, most said he’d saved the American auto industry, and one young woman said he’d made sure she could go to college. I’d ask a follow-up question about the enormous debt accumulated under Obama, and in return I received a lot of blank stares. This is why I say most Obama voters are ignorant. Most have no understanding of what policies Obama has enacted, much less how they’ve affected the economy.
For example, take the claim that Obama saved the American auto industry. Is that true? Absolutely not! Obama allowed it to go through a bankruptcy process (which Romney advised early on), the only difference being that Obama violated established bankruptcy laws in the process and gave tens of billions to the labor unions while screwing over the secured stockholders, including pension funds providing retirement security for teachers, police officers and tens of millions of other working Americans. Even still, the auto industry still struggles because this bailout removed the consequences of poor decision making, which led to more poor decision making. In return, American taxpayers lost tens of billions of dollars of bailout money that will never be repaid.
Obama supporters recycle his claim that Obama, who accumulated $6 TRILLION in new bet in under four years, will pay down the deficit by making the “rich”, the Top 1%, pay “a little more,” yet another example of the profound ignorance of the average Obama voter. According to the latest IRS data, the Top 1% of income earners earned $1.38 trillion in income, and paid $318 billion of those earnings in taxes. So, how is it possible to close the deficit by taxing the rich “a little more”, when if the government took EVERY PENNY from the Top 1% it would barely pay off this year’s DEFICIT, barely make a dent in this year’s budget, and not come close to reducing the $16 trillion national debt. And once you’ve confiscated their earnings, do you think “the rich” will continue to work so hard, just to have government steal from them again?
Contrary to the Obama/Democrat class warfare rhetoric, the vast majority of the Top 1% is comprised not of “millionaires and billionaires”, but of hard working small business owners who file business income under their personal tax returns as LLCs, Sub-chapter S corporations, etc., and who sacrifice tremendously to keep their doors open in this economy. They are the jobs engine of this economy, and raising taxes on them, when their profit margins are so small as it is, and then adding massive new regulations from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and other regulatory regimes, is crushing their ability to remain competitive.
Democrat leaders, most of who live in the reality-deprived bubble of government “service”, are clueless as to how their actions affect the economy, but affect the economy they do. We saw that immediately after the elections, as business owners across the nation woke up that Wednesday morning realizing that they were going to have to deal with these anti-business Democrat policies if they were to survive. And that is exactly what they did. Faced with rising costs in a down economy, and unable to pass those costs on to their customers, businesses immediately began cutting costs by laying off workers. Less than two weeks after the election, the list of layoffs is staggering. Companies announcing layoffs include Boeing (30% of management, but won’t reveal an exact number), Dow Chemical (closing 20 plants, laying off 2,400), Texas Instruments (1,600), Pepsi (4,000), Welch Allen (275), Stryker Medical (1,170), Boston Scientific (1,400), Medtronic (1,000), Smith & Nephew (770), Abbott Labs (700), Covidien (595), Kinetic Concepts (427), St. Jude Medical (300), Hill Rom (200), Murray Energy (156), Vestas (3,700), Cigna (1,300), TE Connectivity (620), Energizer Holdings (1,500), Turbocare (220), U.S. Cellular (640), First Energy (400), and many more. This does not even touch the tens of thousands of smaller, privately owned businesses, the auto garages and restaurants and the like, which will lay off employees.
Nor is that the only impact; companies like Kroger (350,000 employees) and Papa John’s Pizza will be reducing many workers to less than thirty hours per week (below the threshold where they are defined as part-time and not counted against the ObamaCare penalty formula). Many small businesses have also begun to lay-off or move to part time enough employees to get under the 50-employee limit at which the ObamaCare mandates kick in.
You see, government can be recklessly mismanaged and still force its “customers” to pay more to cover the shortfall. Private businesses do not have that luxury, and must now make harsh decisions in order to just survive. Over the next year, you will see unemployment climb back up, likely over 9% or even more, due to the “unintended” consequence of growing government and a push for single-payer healthcare (the ultimate objective of ObamaCare).
The same voters gleefully celebrating Obama’s re-election may soon find themselves in dire straits, unable to find work, living off unemployment checks and food stamps. Tens of millions of Americans may now learn the wisdom of a quote often attributed to John Wayne…”Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid”…or just ignorant.