Posts Tagged ‘C.S. Lewis’

Obama’s Economic Legacy: Highest Poverty Rate Increases In 50 Years

September 12, 2010

Conservatives need to keep asking one simple question: How’s Obama’s and the Democrat Party’s “hope” and “change” working out for you?

Not so good if you’re poor.

It’s not so good if you’re working age.  Or if you’re a child.  Or if you’re black or Latino.

Of course, Democrats have been swindling voters for a generation that they’re out to help such people.  The only problem is that their rhetoric is a load of crap, and their policies actually end up hurting the people they deceitfully claim they’re most trying to help.

You know what they say: teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime; give him crummy handouts and he’ll be poor and dependent on Democrats until the day he dies.  Or at least until he develops the sense to start voting for conservatives who want to empower businesses to create jobs.

Notice I said “conservative,” not “Republican.”  Because there’s a huge difference between a true conservative and an Arlen Specter (before he revealed he was a Democrat all along), an Olympia Snowe, or even a Scott Brown.

We need a real change.  We don’t need “moderate Republican” (= “warmed-over Democrat”) policies, and the last two years should serve to demonstrate we certainly don’t need Democrat (= warmed-over socialist) policies.  We need something we haven’t seen in a long time: committed conservative solutions.

Otherwise 1 in 7 is going to become 1 in 6.  And then 1 in 5.

An article from the liberal Huffington Post:

Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
HOPE YEN and LIZ SIDOTI | 09/11/10

WASHINGTON — The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat’s presidency – are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.

It’s unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

“The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, “If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle.”

Interviews with six demographers who closely track poverty trends found wide consensus that 2009 figures are likely to show a significant rate increase to the range of 14.7 percent to 15 percent.

Should those estimates hold true, some 45 million people in this country, or more than 1 in 7, were poor last year. It would be the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959. The previous high was in 1980 when the rate jumped 1.3 percentage points to 13 percent during the energy crisis.

Among the 18-64 working-age population, the demographers expect a rise beyond 12.4 percent, up from 11.7 percent. That would make it the highest since at least 1965, when another Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, launched the war on poverty that expanded the federal government’s role in social welfare programs from education to health care.

Demographers also are confident the report will show:

_Child poverty increased from 19 percent to more than 20 percent.

_Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately hit, based on their higher rates of unemployment.

_Metropolitan areas that posted the largest gains in poverty included Modesto, Calif.; Detroit; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

My guess is that politically these figures will be greeted with alarm and dismay but they won’t constitute a clarion call to action,” said William Galston, a domestic policy aide for President Bill Clinton. “I hope the parties don’t blame each other for the desperate circumstances of desperate people. That would be wrong in my opinion. But that’s not to say it won’t happen.”

Lawrence M. Mead, a New York University political science professor who is a conservative and wrote “The New Politics of Poverty: The Nonworking Poor in America,” argued that the figures will have a minimal impact in November.

“Poverty is not as big an issue right now as middle-class unemployment. That’s a lot more salient politically right now,” he said.

But if Thursday’s report is as troubling as expected, Republicans in the midst of an increasingly strong drive to win control of the House, if not the Senate, would get one more argument to make against Democrats in the campaign homestretch.

The GOP says voters should fire Democrats because Obama’s economic fixes are hindering the sluggish economic recovery. Rightly or wrongly, Republicans could cite a higher poverty rate as evidence.

[snip]

The projections partly rely on a methodology by Rebecca Blank, a former poverty expert who now oversees the census. She estimated last year that poverty would hit about 14.8 percent if unemployment reached 10 percent. “As long as unemployment is higher, poverty will be higher,” she said in an interview then.

A formula by Richard Bavier, a former analyst with the White House Office of Management and Budget who has had high rates of accuracy over the last decade, predicts poverty will reach 15 percent.

That would put the rate at the highest level since 1993. The all-time high was 22.4 percent in 1959, the first year the government began tracking poverty. It dropped to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973 after Johnson’s war on poverty but has since fluctuated in the 12-14 percent range.

In 2008, the poverty level stood at $22,025 for a family of four, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth. It does not factor in noncash government aid such as tax credits or food stamps, which have surged to record levels in recent years under the federal stimulus program.

Beginning next year, the government plans to publish new, supplemental poverty figures that are expected to show even higher numbers of people in poverty than previously known. The figures will take into account rising costs of medical care, transportation and child care, a change analysts believe will add to the ranks of both seniors and working-age people in poverty.

The mainstream liberal media are calling Afghanistan America’s longest war.  But it’s not even close to being our longest war: the Democrats’ “war on poverty” is far and away our longest war.  And it has been worse than Vietnam in terms of being a poorly-led and stupidly fought quagmire.

I see “metropolitan areas” and “blacks and Latinos” and I can’t help but laugh at the irony of it.  Many metropolitan areas – most definitely including the ones  that posted the “largest gains” in poverty – have voted Democrat for a hundred years.  And every new election cycle it has been like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football – with Charlie Brown being the minorities and the poor, and Lucy being the Democrats, and the football being useless promises that will never be there when poor Charlie Brown tries to finally fulfill his dream of kicking that ball down the field to a successful life.

And blacks and Latinos have voted Democrat since that “war on poverty” began, when the very same Democrats who literally put blacks in the abject bonds of slavery began to realize that there was an even better way to keep these people “in their place.”

And they end up living out the definition of insanity, where they keep voting the exact same way for fifty years, and a hundred years, expecting a different result each and every time.

And they wonder why they’re still in poverty, after 50 election cycles of voting for it.

And, sadly, even if conservatives DO take over the House and the Senate, most of these metropolitan areas and the residents who are trapped in them will remain in poverty.  Why?  Because they will continue to vote the same insane way, and they will end up with representatives and city councils that will block meaningful reform for their districts and cities, and keep them stuck in the same godawful snake oil policies they were selling a century ago.

Do metropolitan cities and minority areas really want jobs?  They’re not going to get them in another fifty, hundred, thousand years; not when they keep voting for the likes of Rep. Maxine Waters:

Waters responded by saying in part, “And guess what this liberal would be all about. This liberal will be about socializing … uh, um. …” Recognizing she just let the liberal agenda out of the bag she paused to collect her thoughts and continued, “Would be about…, basically…, taking over…, and the government running all of your companies.”

You’ve really got to laugh at that quote by that Clinton hack William Galston who says he hopes the parties don’t “blame each other.”  Whenever Democrats are one-hundred percent to blame for a problem, that’s when they start saying, “Let’s not blame each other.”  If this disastrous news had come out during the Bush presidency, you can bet Democrats would be screaming about it.  And calling Bush a “racist” for letting it happen.

Do you think businesses and companies are going to locate their businesses where they’ll be under the thrall of these anti-business socialists who despise them?  Keep dreaming.  And keep demanding that businesses and companies live up to conditions that are impossible for them to meet in the real world and be profitable.  And keep remaining in poverty for the next five generations.

A couple of great quotations from a couple of great minds better explains the situation today than most modern minds could ever hope to equal:

“Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?” — Alexis de Tocqueville

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.” — C.S. Lewis

‘Celebrating’ DEPENDENCE Day Under Barack Obama

July 4, 2009

As we survey the despotism of the world around us, we can admire our founding fathers – and celebrate their achievement – all the more.

Think of Iraq under Saddam Hussein; or think of Iran under the Ayatollah and the mullahs.  And then look around and see all the millions, even billions of peoples, under some form of tyranny and totalitarian rule.  It was not the Iraqi people, but the people of the United States of America, who threw down Saddam Hussein and instituted a democracy in place of tyranny.  And the Iranian people may have rioted in their streets, but they failed to throw off the shackles of their tyrannous and repressive regime.  And it is very unlikely that they ever will lest some free people liberate them from their own government.

Think of the history of human civilization, and realize just how few times peoples under such rule have thrown off the shackles of bondage for themselves.

We were one of that tiny number.  And our forefathers instituted in place of tyranny the greatest example of democratic and republican government that the world has ever known.

The rarity of America’s achievement, and the resulting greatness that has since resulted, should be celebrated with more than fireworks.  It should inspire Americans – and the world – to pursue freedom and liberty over any obstacle which gets in the way.

Many historians have argued that the British government, and the king who embodied that government, really did not seek to impose anything that tyrannous.  The king didn’t seek to impose an Orwellian-style regime; he merely wanted to modestly increase taxes to help pay for a war that had been fought for the Colonies’ behalf.

The British Empire had spent some 60 million pounds fighting the French and Indian War less than a decade previously.  And the British justifiably believed that the Colonies should share some of the burden for that massive cost.  They weren’t consciously attempting to impose tyranny; all they wanted to do was raise money.

But the patriots didn’t view it that way.  What they saw was taxation without representation.  What they saw was an imposition on their property without their consent.  They looked at taxes (such as the Stamp tax and the Tea tax), and asked themselves, “If they can impose this upon us, what else can they impose?”

And when their protests were met with thousands of British troops, the patriots believed they had their answer: the king believed he could impose power upon them at his whim.

Unlike most other peoples in human history, our founding fathers did not wait for the yoke of oppression to become so heavy that it could not be thrown off.  Rather, they were willing to fight at the very first signs of tyranny.  And in so doing, they not only won their freedom, and the freedom of their descendants; they won the freedom of millions and millions of peoples whom their descendants would subsequently fight to liberate.

Part of the problem with tyranny and totalitarian rule is that there will always be people who say, “It really isn’t that bad.  Why are you making such a nuisance of yourself by protesting?”  The analogy of the frog in water comes to mind: if a government takes away our freedoms little by little, it is very likely that won’t comprehend the deprivation until it is too late to do anything about it.

Alexis de Tocqueville – one of the great political thinkers who recognized the import and result of American freedom – also wrote about one of the most pernicious forms of tyranny in the second quarter of the 19th century:

“Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”

C.S. Lewis wrote about a century later:

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

The tyranny described by Alexis de Tocqueville and C.S. Lewis is the tyranny we face in America today: the tyranny of the nanny state; the tyranny of big government; the tyranny of the welfare state.  Naysayers can always continue to say, “It’s not that big of a deal,” or “It’s not that much worse than it used to be,” or “This is what we need right now.”  And they always will be able to say such things.  And that is precisely why most peoples find themselves in forms of tyranny that they have neither the power nor the will to free themselves from.

There is no question that the massive anvil of fiscal insanity will ultimately fall on the US economy due to the near doubling of the national debt as Barack Obama adds a projected $9.3 trillion to the $11.7 trillion hole we’re already in.  Obama is borrowing 50 cents on the dollar as he explodes the federal deficit by spending four times more than Bush spent in 2008 and in the process “adding more to the debt than all presidents — from George Washington to George Bush — combined.”  And what is most terrifying of all, Obama’s spending will cause debt to double from 41% of GDP in 2008 to a crushing 82% of GDP in 2019.

What will be the result of all this insane spending, and not very long from now? A quote from a CNS News story should awaken anyone who thinks the future will be rosy:

By 2019, the CBO said, a whopping 82 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) will go to pay down the national debt. This means that in future years, the government could owe its creditors more than the goods and services that the entire economy can produce.

I look at the recent past, and see debts that our children’s children’s children will never be able to hope to repay; debts that will soon shackle us, and most certainly shackle our future generations.  And I realize that these debts have been accumulated in order to forge the very sort of society that de Tocqueville and Lewis warned us about.

The nanny state doesn’t celebrate the peoples’ independence; it celebrates their dependence.  As big government assumes more and more control of the economy, it creates more poverty and therefore more need for the government to come to the increasingly dependent peoples’ rescue.  It systematically and progressively creates a vicious cycle of dependency that becomes increasingly difficult for a once-free people to sever themselves from.

I think of two attempts by the Obama administration to seize government power that are most pernicious of all: health care and cap-and-trade.  Consider for a moment that if the government assumes control over our health care, it will have the potential to control everything that goes into our bodies, and even the activities of our bodies in the name of our “health.”  And as for cap-and-trade, what doesn’t require energy to produce or transport?  Under these two programs alone, nearly total control can be exercised.

What would our founding fathers – who were willing to fight over taxes on stamps or tea – have to say about these massive government power grabs?