Obama’s Declaration of Dependence

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has been under fire since last week’s South Carolina GOP primary debate for calling President Obama a “food stamp president.” Progressive critics have accused Gingrich of pushing hatred and racism to turn voters against Obama. But as a CNNMoney article makes clear, more Americans have been added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under Obama than under his recent predecessors and Obama’s stimulus package made it easier to qualify for SNAP. Approximately 14% of Americans — 1 in 7 — were on food stamps last year. We spent $75 billion on food stamps in 2011, an increase of about $40 billion in just three years, and according to Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector overall spending on our 70 welfare programs has increased by one-third under Obama. These are facts and they would still be equally true if President Obama were white.

Since the State of the Union address on Tuesday, it has become clear if it wasn’t already that President Obama would like to see Americans become wholly dependent on government. Need a job? Government will provide it. Need food? Government will buy it. Obama even perversely implied during his address that a free market cannot exist without government intervention. The president’s address served as a stunning indictment of the state of our union in 2012. Some 236 years after Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the American president delivered a Declaration of Dependence that might have shocked even Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. On Tuesday, Obama proposed an unlimited government that would meet every need and fix every problem the American people may encounter.

Libertarians and limited government conservatives know that such a government cannot be sustained. The more government meets people’s needs, the more they become convinced that they cannot meet those needs themselves. The more government solves people’s problems, the more they turn to government for solutions. The kind of government that Obama envisions encourages people to have low expectations of themselves and high expectations of government. And as the American people’s self-expectations diminish and their expectations of government increase, there will be fewer and fewer wealthy people or even ordinary working people to tax in order to pay for the unlimited welfare state. Eventually the government bubble will burst, and when it does a population that has come to believe that it cannot function without government will be forced to do so without remembering how to do it.

This is not some far away hypothetical scenario nor the plot of some post-apocalyptic film. This is what we are seeing right now in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. The Europeans have proven that an unlimited welfare state is unsustainable and Professor Obama has utterly failed to learn from the Old World’s mistakes. When you hear President Obama offering government as the provider for all needs and the solution to all problems, tune him out and instead picture the riots in the streets of Athens transferred to the streets of Washington, D.C. That is the future of the dystopia that Obama has proposed.

It has become common for libertarians and limited government conservatives to accuse President Obama of class warfare. And it’s true that he has encouraged economically disadvantaged and middle class Americans to resent the wealthy and support government seizure of their earnings, even though many of them were once economically disadvantaged or middle class Americans who worked hard to get where they are today. Obama has appealed to Americans to reject a market driven by free consumption and instead embrace an economy driven by compulsory redistribution — or, as we hoi polloi prefer to call it, theft.

But Obama’s class warfare doesn’t just target the wealthy class and I would argue that they are really secondary casualties in his class war. President Obama’s vision for America is a declaration of war on the dignity of economically disadvantaged and middle class Americans. In encouraging what George W. Bush once called “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” Obama has declared war on working class Americans’ conviction that they can make it on their own, that they can prosper by their own efforts. He has demanded that they surrender to the belief that they are no longer independent individuals but dependent members of a collective who can only succeed in life if they accept their role as drones in the government beehive.

President Obama has, in other words, asked the American people to become cosignatories to his Declaration of Dependence by giving him a second term. We should opt instead to declare our independence by sending him packing this November.

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