(Part two of a two-part series. The first part was Democrats And The Politics Of Envy.)
Ask a yellow dog Democrat why he’s a Democrat and he’ll usually say it’s because the Democrat Party is the party of the working man. He believes it so strongly that he’d vote for the Democrat over anyone else, even if the Democrat on the ticket was an old yellow dog.
It doesn’t matter that Democrat policies have been devastating to the poor and middle class workers in this country for almost 100 years. The poor and middle class still turn out in droves to vote for them. Democrat politicians have successfully positioned themselves as the party of the poor, and they’ve created an enmity between the poor and the rich.
Democrats leaders perpetuate this enmity with popular slogans like “living wage,” “fair share,” “working poor,” “greedy rich,” “rich Republicans” and “evil profits.” Their rank and file have bought it hook, line and sinker.
The Great Society
By the late 1950s, ever-resilient America had somewhat recovered from the effects of Woodrow Wilson’s policies—the Federal Reserve, the income tax and World War I—and Franklin Delano Roosevelt policies—the New Deal and World War II—and prosperity was returning.
Then along came Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Great Society and the next great expansion of the nanny state. Previous Democrat administration policies had been devastating to the people they purported to help and, with his Great Society programs, Johnson continued the assault on the poor under the guise of giving them a hand up.
Within three years of assuming the Presidency in 1963, Johnson had requested 200 major pieces of legislation and Congress had approved 181 of them, according to Leslie Carbone in Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform. She writes:
“Roosevelt had peddled the drug of government give-aways primarily in the poor neighborhoods; Johnson set up shop in middle-class cul-de-sacs, and most Americans, willingly or unwillingly, wittingly or unwittingly, are forced to shoot up. Johnson’s sweeping proposals sought to address almost every issue of concern to Americans: civil rights, poverty, education, health, housing, pollution, the arts, cities, occupational safety, consumer protection, and mass transit, to name only the most prominent.”
As she quotes Johnson aide Joseph Califano from the book Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society, “LBJ adopted programs the way a child eats rich chocolate-chip cookies.”
And what have these programs wrought? Mark Owen, adjunct professor of economics at Northwood University, wrote a column for LewRockwell.com on Feb. 7, 2007 entitled The Welfare State: Shredding Society. In it he said:
“Births out of wedlock were consistently at or below 5% between 1940 and 1960. By 1970, the rate had risen to over 10% and has continued to rise to 33% of all births today… Divorce rates increased from 9 to 23 per 1,000 married couples annually from 1960 to 1980, while leveling off at 20 per 1,000 through 1998. How much of this leveling off in divorce rates is the result of relationships in groups with higher divorce tendencies never evolving past cohabitation is difficult to ascertain. Over half of children born today in the US will live in a single parent household, while in some areas the rate is much higher. It is hard to ignore the statistical relationship between crime and family dissolution.
“While crime and family destabilization may be two of the more obvious results of the welfare state, there are many others. The stigma for single mother births has virtually disappeared. Intergenerational dependency on government programs with the related lack of skills for self-sufficiency, much like a farm animal unable to live without the farmer for food and shelter, has created people without hope or ambition.”
The welfare state has created a cycle of dependency that perpetuates itself. Now there are third and fourth generations of single women living off welfare and raising children in single parent homes.
Typically these women live in urban areas and their children are held hostage to failing inner city schools systems. And Democrat policies are to blame for these failing schools.
In 1965 Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It provided for aid to poor children in slums and rural areas, created a five-year program for school libraries to buy textbooks and other instructional materials and provided for educational research, among other things. Essentially, the Federal government took over the education of the children, according to Carbone.
Carbone writes: “Representative Charles Goodell warned that the bill’s ‘clear intent is to radically change our historic structure of education by a dramatic shift of power to the federal level.’”
The National Education Association (NEA) teacher’s union, a supporter of Democrat candidates and causes, opposes any and all efforts to inject competition or reform into the failing schools. Therefore Democrats oppose them as well. Combined with local teacher unions, the NEA also fights efforts to change the tenure system which protects the jobs of bad teachers to the detriment of the children.
LBJ’s War on Poverty programs have been dismal failures. According to Carbone in Slaying Leviathan, $800 million was appropriated for the Economic Opportunity Bill of 1964. That bill created the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and 10 other programs. The next year Congress appropriated $1.5 billion for OEO. Between 1965 and 1972 Congress spent $15 billion on the War on Poverty.
“Launching the War Poverty, Johnson declared, ‘[T]he days of the dole are numbered.’ Within two generations, more than $10 trillion have been spent on this war, more in current dollars than was spent to win World War II,” Carbone writes.
And through all that, Democrats are still looking for ways to spend money to fund programs to fight the War on Poverty.
Obama And Echoes Of FDR
Like Herbert Hoover, George W. Bush was a Republican without a conservative soul. And just like Hoover, his policies to battle the recession were all wrong. First was the stimulus bill of 2008, a $150 billion—1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP)—kick in the economy through tax rebate checks that the government hoped would prevent or shorten the recession.
Next came the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free market,” Bush said at the time.
Then Obama went one better than Bush. Just two months after taking office he pushed through Congress a $787 billion American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009. So within the space of one year more than $1.5 trillion new dollars had been injected into the economy, further eroding the value of the dollars the poor and middle class hold.
What’s more, as Michael Barone writes for The Washington Examiner, “One-third of the 2009 stimulus money went to state and local governments–an obvious payoff to the public employee unions which gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrats and got hundreds of billions of dollars in return, to insulate public employee unions from the effects of the recession which has affected everyone else.”
There’s another provision in the bill that provides a sop to unions. The money for “shovel ready” construction projects must be spent on firms using union labor. This raises the cost of the projects and freezes out many non-union poor or middle class construction workers.
But Obama wasn’t finished. Despite the call from the American people to focus on jobs and the economy, Obama and his Congressional allies were single-mindedly pushing through an unconstitutional healthcare program which will cost $940 billion, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.
Touted as a bill to help the uninsured, it’s not likely to make things better. For one thing, those 32 million new patients are going to be trying to get appointments with the same number of—or fewer—doctors than we currently have. What’s more, the plan cuts Medicare payments and puts mandates on the states to cover more people under Medicaid—the program that insures the poor. This comes at a time when state budgets are in crisis.
Plus, many doctors already refuse to take Medicare and Medicaid patients because the reimbursement is so low. With fewer doctors for fewer patients, that means rationed care. And the poor and middle class, who are unable to afford to pay out of pocket for a doctor’s care, will be the victims of rationed care.
And then there are the tax increases in the bill. According to Bloomberg.com the bill imposes about $69 billion in penalties for individuals and businesses who don’t meet mandates to buy insurance.
And The Hill newspaper reports that the Joint Committee on Taxation, congress’ official score keeper, says the new law will cost taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year roughly $3.9 billion more in taxes—in 2019 alone—by limiting the medical expense deduction.
On top of this are the taxes on pharmaceutical companies, medical manufacturers and insurance companies which will be passed on to the consumer.
Finally, the healthcare bill will affect smaller rural communities with physician-owned hospitals. According to CNSNews.com, “The new health care overhaul law, which promised increased access and efficiency in health care, will prevent doctor-owned hospitals from adding more rooms and more beds.”
Physician-owned hospitals have higher patient satisfaction, greater control over medical decisions for patients and doctor, better quality care and lower costs, according to Physician Hospitals of America, as quoted by CNSNews.com
The Coming Value-Added Tax
Obama economic advisor and former Federal Reserve Chief Paul Volcker recently suggested that it’s time for America to adopt a value-added tax (VAT). The White House immediately downplayed the idea. Then last week Obama admitted he was on board.
“I know that there’s been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It’s something that would be novel for the United States,” Obama told CNBC.
After Volcker’s remarks the Senate passed a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution that calls such a tax “a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America’s economic recovery.”
With the Tea Partiers already incensed over the administration’s policies and Congress’ actions, a VAT is not on the table before the November elections. But it’s coming. You can count on it. After all, it’s European, and Obama is hell-bent on turning American into a European socialist country.
The VAT is a sales tax that is added onto every product at each stage of production. It is a regressive tax that inordinately affects the poor and middle class.
In Slaying Leviathan, Carbone writes: “…the VAT has been disastrous in Europe. As a hidden tax, it is easy to raise and has continually increased. Its complicated nature expands government and makes it expensive to administer. A VAT forces businesses to bear heavy compliance costs in order to serve as tax collectors for the government.”
Food and some necessities are often exempted from the VAT, which helps the consumer but not the business which has to administer it. Combine that with the fact that sometimes many different rates are applied, and the cost of compliance inordinately affects small businesses on which many families depend and which employ the most people, according to Carbone.
In the end, all the VAT will do is grow government and give it more money to spend to further encroach on the lives of Americans while crushing the economy.
Of course, growing government and creating a cycle of dependency is the goal of the Democrats. Party of the working man (or woman)? Not hardly. Not even old yellow dogs lying under the porch waiting for handouts thrive under Democrat policies.