By: Wayne Brown
Another year has passed under the reign of the Obama Administration and we head into the final journey of the first term in office. Yet again, it is time for a “State of the Union” address before both houses of Congress. The address is referred to in that manner as its original intention was to covers such information from the presidential perspective. In effect, this address set the ground work for the “priorities of the people” and put them before Congress for consideration. Today, that aspect of the speech has long since been lost and the whole affair amounts to nothing less than the President sharing “his” vision of the future of America.
If we can believe the “press leaks” in the administration, we can count on President Obama focusing his talks on “fairness” in America. Not only is this the focus for his SOTUS for also for going forward into his re-election campaign. In the president’s mind, America is an unfair place and that is the premise for why the economy has not healed and for why there has not been a significant growth in the private sector jobs market. This new theme, if you will, replaces the old approach….blame. Now, after almost four years in office, the president is determined to do something about the real problems in America. The promise continues always tainted with a touch of “hope and change”.
The president has state that this is a “make or break time for the middle class in America”. Along with that statement, he has also made the claim that he is ready to put a blueprint for an economy that will stand the test of time. If one has never heard the term, “bandwagon appeal”, let this be your introductory example to it. In his previous run for the office of president, Obama ran on the platform of “hope and change”…all the wonderful things he was going to do for the masses here in America. Again, bandwagon appeal casting a net over the largest sector of people who believe they deserve better. We all believe we deserve better when it comes right down to it so why not go for broke?
Let’s get to the issue of “fairness” in America and see what the president could possibly be talking about. In its most simple definition, that designed for the understanding of a child; “fairness” is defined as everyone getting the same. In more robust definitions, the term refers to receiving “just enough; an equitable distribution”. Take either one and the intent is the same. So, if we look at the definition and back into the president’s intent to focus on “fairness”, we arrive at a conclusion that indicates nothing more than his same old haggard desire to redistribute the wealth in America. Unless the president can reinvent the definition of “fairness”, then where else can we go?
Those who would promote a “socialist” society understand that the “pie” is only so big. They have that perspective because it is a learned one from past experience. Once socialism takes over in a society, any significant growth in terms of production and economics slows then stops. Eventually, if the situation can subsist long enough, growth begins to turn down and the “pie” then starts to become even smaller. Thus, if we are to have “fairness” in our society and expect our middle-class to continue to exists, then we must assure there is an equitable distribution of the available assets shared by society. In other words, everyone gets the same size slice of the “pie”, regardless of what they bring to the table. This will be portrayed as “growth of the middle-class” in America, when in actuality it is nothing more than the imposition of mediocrity on the masses.
Capitalism has some flaws mainly taken advantage of by those who let greed override judgment in their actions. We all understand that aspect and hopefully we all understand that selfishness and greed never really go away regardless of what economic system is place. In its truest form, capitalism has one very special characteristic, growth is always possible. Under capitalism, there is always potential for the “pie” to grow larger. Does that mean we are guaranteed a slice of the pie? No, there are no free lunches and there are no guarantees other than those afforded one under the umbrella of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In that light, the president believes that America is an “unfair” society. Better yet, let me rephrase that…he would like you to believe that America is an unfair society so that you will give him another term in office to work his socialist magic.
Two people work for a period of ten years in manufacturing. Both save $100,000 each. Person A invests the money in a financial retirement plan. Person B decides that it is time to enter the business world and invests the money in an idea for a retail business. Five years later, Person A’s assets invested in the retirement plan have grown by almost 20%. In contrast, Person B invested the $100,000 in their private business which failed to produce a profit and eventually closed taking all of the investment with it. Person B is back on the assembly line starting over. Should the government take part of Person A’s assets and give them to Person B so that “B” can feel a greater sense of “fairness” in our society and so that “A” will feel “B’s” pain and loss? If you say yes, then America is really not your ideal place to live because you are dependent on a government created fairness that operates like teacher monitoring children at play during recess period.
The “fairness” intended from the very beginning of this country in the scenario above was that both people had the liberty and the freedom to not only earn their assets but also to decide what they would do with them. Within those rights are various degrees of risk which have varying degrees of comfort level for the given individual. No one says that anyone has to take a particular road…it is their right and privilege under our founding documents to make that choice and, in turn, take the results that come with it. Fairness is not built into the outcome; it is the fact that we have a level playing field at the outset. Beyond that point, it is up to the individual. Surely one cannot believe that the federal government is going to “engineer” fairness into our society with any level of credible hope?
In America, people take risks with their assets. For some, it pays off and pays off well. For others, it spells defeat and causes them to have to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and reconsider what they did and what they want to do in the future to change the outcome. The fact that they won or lost does not guarantee them another try although both may be back. That will be their choice and not the choice of some government entity. In the end, the scales may tilt one way or the other in terms of assets and wealth of a given individual but that in no reduces the other person’s ability to win or lose with his own game or approach. The opportunity still exists when the ability to take advantage of it has disappeared. That is a truth of capitalism.
The president gets what he wants much more easily when he can create a “coming dilemma” which requires immediate action. Remember the early slogan of this administration…”never let a good disaster go to waste”. Obama wants middle-class America to believe that it is headed down the toilet and then portray himself as the savior of the people. He wants that class-envy and class-warfare at the forefront in today’s debate so that he can play that role of enforcer bringing the powers of the federal government to bear in order to put “fairness” on everyone’s plate. In effect, the only thing that is driving the middle-class of America toward extinction in this country is the economic and regulatory policies of the Obama Administration. Take away those influences and the American economic engine will straighten up faster than a Cessna 150 aircraft coming out of a stall when the pilot takes his hands off the controls. In this case, “fairness” is a function of the “intent to stifle”, which seems to be the only product the Obama Administration has produced with any regulatory and consistency.
President Obama wants to lead America forward with a doctrine of fairness in order to save the middle-class of America from extinction. If you consider that statement, then also consider, where does he want to lead us to…what destination? If you choked on that answer, let me help you for there is really only one conclusion that you can arrive at if you answer that question. The answer is “mediocrity”. If, indeed, there is equitable distribution of everything, then the best we have is mediocrity…no rich, no poor, no middle-class…just mediocrity. Success will no longer require a definition…there will not be any. Poverty will follow the same path. Everyone will have the same and America will be a better place because “fairness” will finally rule the day. You can also forget “hope” and “change”…they will no longer be necessary. If you recognize some of that as familiar, maybe it is because you have seen the same approach in our education system of today…no success; no failure…equalized outcomes…protect the child.
The greatness of America is derived not from “fairness”; it is derived from “opportunity”. People do not flock here to our borders to gain “fairness”, they come for the “opportunity” to succeed; to be more than they are; to have a shot at the brass ring swinging just about their heads. With that comes some inequities as we saw with Person A and B. Over time, some people will lose or gain assets and over time positions with shift as conditions shift changing the elements of risk. When we focus on security and fairness, we turn our backs on the concept of “opportunity” and we open the door for a much-too-large government to come in and take away those rights associated with opportunity. Once those rights go away, the avenue to gain success disappears with it along with the motivation and initiative of the people. All that will be left will be the drivers of selfishness and greed in a society based wholly on mediocrity as the level of measure in terms of fairness.
Middle-class America did not evolve on the basis of a doctrine of fairness. It evolved because we had an economic environment where capitalism could flourish and individual ideas and initiative could be implemented. A few created jobs for many with the implementation of their ideas. Consider Bill Gates and Microsoft for a moment and what the economic impact of that effort had on the middle-class of America. The middle-class evolved with its own sense of competition for success driving education levels higher along with pay scales. That opportunity is still there in America in one way or the other and the possibility of a new Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, or Warren Buffet exists every day because of it. Opportunity is the engine driving the middle-class, not fairness.
Most human beings desire to experience some level of success in their life. What we lose sight of is that success is simply relative. Success does not mean that we get wildly rich or unbelievably famous overnight but it may mean that we landed a better paying job that we enjoy doing much more. It may mean that we can afford a little bigger house or a newer car to drive. Success is measured in inches most of the time…not feet. As individuals, we need to keep progressing to the level of our desires while also understanding that at some point, we may not fully achieve what we desire. We may fall short but it will not be because the opportunity was not there. Without opportunity, the rest goes away.
If you embrace fairness as the basis for our middle-class, then you are simply saying that we can all call ourselves by the same name whether it is “middle-class” or just “mediocre people”. When we embrace “equal distribution” which is the intent of fairness, then there is the only one possible outcome and that is mediocrity for the masses. For some, and a very small some, I hope, that might bring a warm fuzzy feeling but to me, as an American who subscribes to democracy, constitutional government, and capitalism, it strikes fear in my heart.
Give that some thought as you listen to the President’s address on the State of the Union this week. It may just sound a little different to you when you consider the alternatives. Recognize this focus of the president as what it is and nothing else…a bandwagon appeal toward re-election. Understand that if we follow such a path in this country, it can only have one destination…socialized mediocrity.
© Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.
23 January 2012