We’ve been in hard times before. We’ve seen our share of tough spots. And generally, we’ve been able to come out of them. This inexcusable excuse for fiscal management, however, is arguably the worst this nation has ever experienced. Never before have we seen such debt, such deficit, and as if all that weren’t enough- such an insatiable desire to keep it up like money grows on the nearest tree.
Gone are the days of a trickle-down policy that unleashes the private sector to allow it to explode in a burst of success, and in its place is big government mandating from on high.
Specifically, this president finds it prudent to slam the honor found in a hard day’s work, and the fruits of the sacrifice of a brilliant young entrepreneur and his drive to achieve the American dream.
Last week, the president unilaterally declared that the work requirement measures outlined in the welfare reform act passed under President Clinton to be nullified. Simply put, there are no longer definitions of what comprises “work” within the context of receiving welfare. The Heritage Foundation puts it well:
“The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid . . . In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work.”
Why is this important? We are human beings. We are inherently weak; we all tend towards what is easiest. Who in their right mind will make much of an effort to find work, train for work, or at least attempt some kind of part-time work as a condition of receiving welfare aid, if it isn’t a requirement? I stand corrected- “work” is technically required, but if I can define mattress testing, food tasting or my yoga class as “work,” are we really going to sit here and say that “work” is a requirement?
By gutting welfare reform, President Obama and his administration further cemented this human tendency into the fabric of our society. He legalized rewarding chronic inaction, and let’s face it- LAZINESS, with what a hard day’s work used to garner. Don’t get me wrong- there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those who need a little help every once in a while when times get tough (thanks to a truck load of epic policy failures spewed by this Congress and this administration faster that greased lightning), but there’s also nothing wrong with expecting that that person do a little REAL work. Sorry campers, hula-hooping shouldn’t count.
Interestingly, it was found that post-welfare reform, the welfare dependency saw major declines unlike it had ever seen as the reform took root. Heritage once again explains it concisely:
“In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among affected groups plummeted. The driving force behind these improvements was the rigorous new federal work requirements contained in the TANF law.”
These actions are also alarmingly not only because of what it will do to increase welfare dependency in this nation, but also because of that pesky (and believe me, this administration finds it all too “pesky”) little fact otherwise known as the branches of government. The Congress of the United States, charged with drafting the laws of the land, did NOT include a waiver provision within the welfare reform legislation, making what the president did yet another executive power grab in the grossest form.
I mentioned that the president also found time whilst signing extra-constitutional executive orders to bash the American Dreamer. You know him or her as the ultra-hardworking, dedicated, massively passionate individual who’d rather rather work 70 hours a week building a business that will launch their dreams than kick back and take it easy. You know him or her as your immigrant great-grandparents who came over here with barely more than the the lint in their left pockets, yet managed to (thanks to the business friendly, free market based system) build a business that now stands as the family legacy today. I could go on for at least another couple of examples, but why don’t I let the President do the explaining himself:
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans, and many of them attribute their wealth and success to their own intelligence and hard work. But the self-made man is an illusion. There are a lot of smart people out there. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hard-working people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But the self-made man is an illusion. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. WHAT?? Wait a sec and let’s re-read that. Maybe we just misunderstood. Maybe the millions of enraged business owners in this nation just heard that wrong.
But the self-made man is an illusion. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Nope. We read that right.
Aside from pointing out the obvious, that is; that DUH, we all had teachers and other guiding factors in our lives, and every last one of us benefits from the genius of the harnessing of the electric current, and the combustion engine, and the WHEEL. . . our President just sat there, look us square in the face, and told us that he doesn’t believe ANY of us have anything uniquely special to contribute to society. He views us as some kind of conglomerate (or, more fitting, “proletariat”) of schmoes carrying out the drudgery of the work required to make the few rich.
Let me point out something. Even if, as the President assumes here, no one can build a business without the aid of the government, doesn’t a person have to come UP with the idea first? Doesn’t the ingenuity need to come from someONE first? Of course, the idea that everything needs the government or it flops is absurd, especially in view of the fact that so much of what the government touches FLOPS (Solyndra, anyone??).
What a slap in the face to every kid who worked his tail off in school, or skipped going out with friends to keep writing that business plan, or who works 80 hours a week and misses seeing his son in the name of keeping a business afloat, or withdrew a life savings to risk it all on a dream. You’ve just been told all that isn’t YOUR doing. And for those of you whose hard work has finally paid off, you’ve just been told that you are an illusion.
I’m literally speechless.
Mr. President, we DID build our businesses. The generations of self-made success stories are most certainly NOT illusions. Americans built this country, not government. As you so crassly put it, “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.” (Oh, you mean that system you’re currently trying to dismantle with every swipe of your executive pen?) YES- we owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us and whose efforts sparked the nation we became, but we also owe it to them to live out the dream they saw for all of us- to live our lives exactly as WE see fit, and to become as successful as we CHOOSE to become.
Our Founders and every generation after that who has fought with blood, sweat, and tears to build this nation didn’t do it so some junior senator who happened to land himself the world’s biggest job could sit on high and tell us that WE DIDN’T BUILD THAT.
Go ahead and tell successful Americans that they didn’t build what they did, and see how fast they leave. You’ve already got an historically high level of expatriation under your presidency, Mr. Obama. Keep it up.