The 2012 Democratic National Convention was essentially a chant of Government, Government, Government, wonderful, holy, all-powerful Government. And the thing is, if you believe deeply enough, you can help build a national debt now officially more than $16 trillion.
Hallelujah? I don't think so. The debt is the imperiling consequence of mostly liberal convictions and cravings that include a swiftly expanding, super-commodious welfare state assisting 100 million means-tested Americans. We've got to have this safety net, speakers repeatedly yelped, only this system is no such thing.
Instead, the worst of the system lets people free-fall into irresponsibility, continued poverty, crime and educational deficiency. Although there are solutions, such as increased work requirements for benefits in appropriate cases, this administration has illegally and deviously constructed state waivers to diminish such rules in a major program.
Governmental worship did not end there, but also included more screeches for making the rich fork over their "fair share" of taxes when anyone who hasn't been too busy reading Marx to explore informed analyses knows the following: President Barack Obama's proposals would deter small-business expansion while not doing a speck to address deficits; the rich and almost-rich pay much higher rates and federal tax shares than the middle class; and lower-income workers get off especially easy.
The tax demagoguery and far more convention fare treated the private sector as nothing much, which helps explain a report from the World Economic Forum. It tells us that we now have the globe's seventh most competitive economy, down from fifth place in the last survey. The decline occurred, it seems, because businesses have been scared to death about the government's fiscal insanity, symptoms of which include record-breaking trillion-dollar deficits.
Keep at it, and those welfare rolls will keep getting bigger and the middle class will keep suffering. And do not believe the stimulus worked (recession panic began disappearing before it went into effect) or the Bill Clinton keynote speech assurance that Obama has added 4.5 million jobs to the economy. That's a ballyhooed convention statistic arrived at through juggling dozens in the air, letting all the telling numbers fall to the ground and holding high a single misleading figure.
Challenges need to be offered, and have been, informing us that the actual gain from the time Obama first took office is a measly 300,000 in the private sector even as something close to 1 million jobs have been lost in the public sector (a 700,000 loss overall). If you compare the number employed today to those employed in January 2008, George W. Bush's last year in office, we are still down four million recession-erased jobs. If that's the kind of recovery your doctor provided, you'd either want to change doctors or consult an undertaker.
The gist of this convention is summed up in Obama's voluminously quoted remark that a successful business owner "didn't build that." Despite contrary claims, the remark for the most part has not been taken out of context. Obama was talking about the importance of government, putting the emphasis on the collective instead of the individual. The best rebuttal I've seen is from Mark Perry, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan's Flint campus.
"Look, if you've been unsuccessful, you didn't get there on your own," he says satirically in his blog, Carpe Diem. "If you were unsuccessful at opening or operating a small business, some government official ... probably contributed to your failure. There was an overzealous civil servant somewhere who might have stood in your way. ... If you've been forced to close a business -- it's often the case that you didn't do that on your own. ... You can thank the bureaucratic tyrants of the nanny state."
True enough, but the nanny state makes Obama and Democratic conventioneers kneel and fold their hands in front of them.
(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.)