“The antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is a struggle of class against class.” Karl Marx
Given recent efforts by liberals to stoke the flames of class warfare, it was inevitable that this country would eventually get to the point where the poor literally ascribe their predicament to the wealthy. Past presidents and congresses perpetuated a capitalistic society “driven by supply and demand, [where] individuals [have] different incomes.” In the struggle between classes, our government has consistently opted for personal freedom and choice, in which a strong work ethic will ultimately enable Americans to achieve the “American Dream.” “Capitalism gives people choices, but not guarantees . . .”
America has eschewed socialism for several reasons. Our forefathers were huge supporters of a free society and a less intrusive federal government. Frankly, despotic leaders who tried to control their lives in the old country spooked them. Over the years, our leaders observed with disdain the ultimate demise of both tyrannical and socialistic societies and worked diligently against these influences.
Capitalism spawned huge advancements during the centuries following the creation of our republic. Would anyone dispute the economic success of America? However, there were abuses by corporations and management that led to hardships for the working class.
A backlash occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These were positive events, and the government responded to the cries of average workers for more regulation and the ability to combat unfair work environments through collective bargaining. This was the beginning of a more employee-oriented society.
Prior to the Great Depression, businesses failed and our government came to the rescue. The result was many new laws that regulated the activities of corporations and the banking system, and equally important, the creation of safety nets for average Americans. The latter marked the beginning of the entitlement era. During the ensuing years, our country’s safety nets were greatly expanded, and now, this country has a huge welfare state ready, willing, and able to support those in need. The rapid growth of entitlements is lauded by many and criticized by others. The ultimate questions are: Who should be eligible for government assistance? And, how large of a welfare system can the federal government afford?
Let’s fast forward to 2012. Currently, our country is at a proverbial crossroads. Barack Obama, for political purposes, has successfully pitted the middle and lower classes against the affluent. This strategy was critical to his recent victory. If unchecked, his policies will lead to a massive redistribution of wealth in this country — no matter what Obama’s supporters tell you. The first step is to tax the rich and use the money to increase domestic programs. What will be the impact of this effort? For one thing, it will emasculate the wealthy and their lifestyles over time. Second, it will enable the welfare state to grow exponentially. This seems like an altruistic and noble objective, but it is not in the eyes of many Americans.
By enabling more people to live off the government, it is, in effect, enslaving more of the population. If you do not earn your way for whatever reason, the state will support you. This is bad public policy, as compared to the alternative of making every able-bodied person work for a living. Granted, the system is not yet designed to give every American a job, but the country should be moving in that direction. Many people believe that self esteem wanes over time when a person cannot support himself. In America, everyone should work, and aid should only be available to the infirmed, the aged and the young.
The process of redistributing wealth is already under way, as half of all Americans do not pay income taxes. It is astounding to think that half the population is being subsidized in the richest and most prosperous country in the world. How can this situation not lead to greater conflict? The sense of entitlement, with the encouragement of the president, is growing every day. Instead of demanding a job, needy people are now demanding more monthly assistance. And, how can 50% of the population be content in their role of supporting so many others?
Obama knows the facts, and yet, he encourages the have-nots to demand more, as if they had a divine right to other people’s hard earned money. To date, there has been little if any conversation about a more reasonable approach or any commitments from those receiving aid to help boost themselves.
The fact that almost all African Americans (93%) voted for Obama along with most Hispanics (69%) and young people is telling. Ironically, these are the groups that have suffered the most during the Obama administration. Nevertheless, they support class warfare and an assault on the affluent as if the rich are the source of their unhappiness. The president plays the role of Robin Hood, steal from the rich and give to the poor. Instead, he should steal from no one and improve economic opportunities for the poor.
Back to the crossroads, if the rich ultimately pay 50%, 60%, 70% taxes and the other members of our society pay none, the country will be one step away from socialism. Merit and personal achievement will become a thing of the past. Exceptionalism will be non-existent. I suppose that if the electorate wants this to happen, it will just continue to elect more politicians like Obama.
But be forewarned, the more we give to the federal government, the more it will try to control our lives. It will happen very slowly, but our choices and personal freedoms will decrease over time.