Wed, 15 Apr 2009 01:50:37 +0000 – By Thomas J. BasileRepublican Strategist/Former Bush Administration Official
Roaring toward the 100-day mark President Obama, together with the Democratic leadership, is bringing us the change we were promised. However, change for the sake of change is a dangerous thing in the complex world we live in, and Americans should be wary of the direction we are heading. Recent poll numbers suggest that Americans, in particular independent voters, are realizing that, despite the centrist rhetoric, the president is a devoted apostle of the left. Those independents and even Republicans who had hoped Barack Obama would make good on his pledge to drive a middle course, have spent the last two months watching the president sign the largest special interest giveaway, discretionary spending increase and expansion of government in our history.
What Americans don't realize is that whatever the pretense, the Democrats are mortgaging our future for the sake of fortifying their stronghold on Washington.
We are witnessing the birth of a new culture of dependency. This effort by Obama is nothing more than a massive power-grab intended to create or reestablish new and larger constituencies for the Democratic Party. Last year it was "Yes We Can!" This year it's "No you can't -- but government will do it for you." The vision is one that sees millions of people from all walks of life and all over the country owing increases in services and perhaps their very livelihoods to government -- or more appropriately the Democratic Party. More services and programs mean more Democratic voters. The New Deal was perverted into a permanent expansion of government. It was later fortified with Great Society programs that nearly bankrupted the country. The Party maintained an underclass of sorts that served as reliable Democratic voting blocs for decades. After eight years of George W. Bush and eight years of Bill Clinton, -- who adopted much of the Republican legislative agenda pertaining to entitlements -- the Democrats are now drunk with power.
What Americans don't realize is that whatever the pretense, the Democrats are mortgaging our future for the sake of fortifying their stronghold on Washington. Here are the top five ways the Obama-Pelosi cabal are attempting to push us toward this new culture of dependency:
1. Increasing the Size of the Federal Government Workforce
This is always a crowd-pleaser at Democratic Party events. In the opening weeks of the administration Obama and the Democrats have committed to increasing the Federal workforce by 200,000.
Unfortunately, those folks aren't soldiers. The new budget request does not call for fully staffing of 48 combat brigades our military needs. These jobs are good old-fashioned public employee union jobs-for-life. They will partly staff the more than three dozen new programs already created during this administration and fill positions that have been slated for elimination.
2. Reducing the Charitable Deduction
There is perhaps no more egregious an example of this trend toward dependency than the first salvo by the Obama administration toward reducing the charitable deduction. The top 1% of American households, by adjusted gross income, contributes up to 40% of all charitable donations each year. Why would Obama begin lowering the deduction, especially during a recession? One word: Dependency. The Democrats could care less about any drop in philanthropic giving. After all, the government will pick up the slack. The demise of charities, large and small, will only provide fertile ground for more government programs, a larger bureaucracy, and increases in government jobs, grants and spending.
3. The National Healthcare Push
Obama is letting ACORN and MoveOn.org carry the water for him in trying to push through a huge national health care plan this year in the midst of the recession. Democrats are circling the wagons to get as many members of Congress on board as possible. If reconciliation procedures are used by Congress , Obama will only need a fifty percent plus 1 majority to effectuate the creation of the largest single government program ever envisioned. Regardless of the Obama rhetoric about protecting choice, once the Pandora's box is opened the program will quickly morph into an restrictive, unmanageable mess that may provide universal coverage, but at the expense of the best quality care in the world.
4. Tax Cuts for People Who Don't Pay Taxes
Nothing says, "vote for me" like providing a little "walking around money." Political observers on the right -- and left -- laughed at the notion that a politician could promise a tax cut to 95% of Americans when 40% of the working population don't pay income taxes. To their credit, that didn't stop the Obama campaign from convincing people it could be done. The 40% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, but who will get money back under the Obama plan, will essentially get a handout from the government in an attempt by the Democrats to shore up potential votes in rural America. If they wanted to do a favor for people on the lower end of the scale, they would find a way to take more people on bottom of the financial ladder off the tax rolls, rather than redistributing wealth.
5. Amnesty for Millions of Illegal Immigrants
We can't send them home. As a matter of policy and practice, it is unrealistic to suggest that we can or should start rounding up millions of people and deporting them. However, over the next several months Americans would do well to watch the Obama administration attempt to swoop in and play savior to the more than 12 million illegal immigrants the president wants to fast-track to citizenship. And what will that produce when another election rolls around? Another 12 million built-in Democratic voters.
It's time Americans realized that this train is barreling down the tracks. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson -- the government that can give you everything also has the power to take everything from you. After criticizing the Bush administration for years about spending and some supposed massive power grab, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid troika has hit a new low on the hypocrisy meter.
America rose to the pinnacle of civilization because sensible leaders believed it was the power of the individual that should be celebrated. It was that individual's ability to achieve -- through their own passion and ingenuity -- that made this nation "the last best hope of earth." What we face in these times is not merely a deep recession, but the creation of a new culture of dependency that threatens the very foundation of our greatness.
Thomas J. Basile is a New York-based Republican Strategist, professor, lecturer and Public Relations executive. He is a former Bush administration official. To learn more about Tom visit www.TJBasile.com