September 2012, #9  

By Victor Volsky        



Barack Obama has great plans for his second term: to bring his golf handicap down to single digits and finally beat the pants off John Boehner. Considering that Obama’s handicap right now is generously estimated at 17, i.e. on a good day he scores in the upper 80’s to the lower 90’s, it is a very ambitious goal, but it’s doable. Electoral victory would obviate the need for Obama to waste a lot of time shaking down star-struck Hollywood stars and credulous (or frightened) Wall Street tycoons, allowing the President to devote more attention to the all-important tasks of improving his golf game, watching basketball and partying.

But won’t golf, basketball and entertainment, while obviously consuming the lion’s share of the President’s schedule, leave him enough time for less enjoyable pursuits? Like building on his first-term successes in destroying the economy, undermining the American dream and knocking America down a peg or two in the international arena. No problem. Obama loves to delegate the more tedious components of his duties (e.g. work), and plenty of his enthusiastic allies are only too happy to pick up the slack.

Indeed, as reported by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott in their New York Times best-seller “Fool me Twice”, progressive strategists are already busy at work, developing detailed blueprints of Dear Leader’s program for his second term. Having perused thousands of documents developed by the network of progressive think tanks, Klein and Elliott describe in detail their plans designed to further their century-old dream of destroying America as we know it and converting it into a socialist paradise.

Some highlights of their blueprints: a massive government-funded jobs program, in effect a remake of FDR’s Works Progress Administration; a green “stimulus” and the founding of a federal “green” bank to provide low-cost financing to private-sector “clean energy” companies (Solyndra, anyone?); an overhaul of the immigration policy; an electoral reform; a national energy policy; and drastic defense spending cuts.

The animating principle of the progressive platform is the concept of “economic fairness” tirelessly touted by Obama. It would be achieved through a two-prong approach. One is a federal “living wage” program, under which all private-sector employers would be forced to pay their employees enough to meet their “basic needs” such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and recreation. And who is going to determine these needs? Why, government bureaucrats, of course.

The other prong is the progressives’ age-old wet dream: equal pay for equal work. It would be achieved by the requirement that everyone should be compensated on the basis of their jobs’ “value” rather than through the workings of the free market. And again, federal bureaucrats would establish the “value” of each job as well as police the private sector to ferret out bias and all manner of discrimination. Progressives also propose a mandatory 12-week paid time off for medical needs and another hike of the minimum wage notwithstanding the disastrous results of all previous minimum wage increases, which have basically destroyed the entry-level jobs market.

This thinking marks a significant deviation from the classic Marxist theory. While Karl Marx touted the “working class” as the grave-digger of capitalism, his modern acolytes have been disenchanted with the “proletariat” and no longer trust its revolutionary impulses. Accordingly, they have transferred their hopes to a new force: a gigantic welfare class wholly dependent on the government largess for its livelihood and thus eager to vote for its progressive benefactors, perpetuating them in power.

Reading about their plans I had an eerie sense of déjà vu… But of course!

In his 1944 State of the Union Address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated the “Second Bill of Rights”, a set of proposals regarding what the government must do for its citizens, adumbrating Barack Obama’s complaints that the U.S. Constitution only covers “negative rights” (thou shall not’s). The positive rights annunciated by FDR included:
"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
"The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
"The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
"The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
"The right of every family to a decent home;
"The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
"The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
"The right to a good education."

It doesn’t take a genius to see the patent absurdity of the ideas advanced by the 32nd U.S. President. What is a “decent” home? “Adequate” medical care? “Good” education? But it is doubtful that FDR took his own proposals at face value. He had little understanding of basic economics, as attested by the disastrous record of his New Deal, but possessed keen political instincts. From the viewpoint of elementary common sense his “Second Bill of Rights” is as absurd as the communists’ inane concept of “reasonable needs.”

But as sheer demagoguery, a politician’s recipe of perpetuating himself in power it is a stroke of genius. As Heinrich Heine said, “Nightingale, I recognize you by your hooves.” One shudders to think what FDR, flushed with victory in World War Two, would have done to the country had he lived longer. But to the chagrin of all progressives he died at a relatively young age of 63.

Yet his ideas did not perish with him. One of Obama’s most important advisors, Cass Sunstein, who has only recently departed the administration to return to his perch at Harvard Law School, in 2004 published a book under the title "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More than Ever." Another of Obama’s allies, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), speaking at a 2008 Obama campaign rally, demanded the implementation of a "Second Bill of Rights.”

Granted, the plans being laid down by the progressive strategists represent merely their thinking, not Obama’s explicit plans. But considering that the very same people developed the blueprints for his first term which he tried to implement to the letter, in some instances even using their exact wording, there is every reason to believe that their cerebrations are an all but official template for the next four years of Obama’s rule. And if Obama succeeds in bamboozling enough voters to eke out a victory by hook or by crook, he will be ready to hit the ground running and pick up where he left off in his first term. So, the flame is kept alive; the beat goes on.

                             © V.Volsky

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