In “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” author Robert Kiyosaki explained the different views of wealth that poor and rich people have. Kiyosaki showed readers how to learn from those opposite outlooks and be successful.
President Barack Obama must be vying to write the latest sequel. Only, Obama wants to turn things upside down. People who make money in the private sector now are evil. Obama made big headlines recently calling out “fat cat bankers on Wall Street.” The only people who are good in Obamaland are government employees.
And they aren’t just doing good, they are doing well. Really well. According to an excellent report by USA Today, “federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months – and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.”
For you statistics wonks out there, that’s an increase of more than a third. USA Today's report went on to show how out of whack federal pay is when compared to what everyone else earns.
“The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector,” it reported Dec. 10. That means the “average” federal worker earns more than $30,000 above a private sector counterpart – enough to buy a government-approved Toyota Prius and have plenty left over.
So naturally Obama is reining in federal salaries and going after waste in the system like he’s always talking about with health care. Right?
Not a chance. The president knows government workers rely on more government and that makes them a core constituency of the Democratic Party. So he instead attacks Wall Street and evil bankers – “banksters” as lefties like to call them.
Obama went after the banks in that recent “60 Minutes” appearance. “They're still puzzled why is it that people are mad at the banks?” he asked. “Well, let's see. You know you guys are drawing down ten-, twenty million-dollar bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in – in decades. And you guys caused the problem and we got ten percent unemployment. Why do you think people might be a little frustrated?”
The media just loved Obama describing “fat cat bankers.” His quote made it everywhere in mainstream news and even on “The Daily Show.” It was a carefully designed P.R. move to boost Obama’s newly flagging numbers with a little old-fashioned class warfare.
Even Cokie Roberts told NPR’s “Morning Edition” audience Dec. 14 that “the president also needs a little shoring up with his own liberal base after his decision to add more troops to Afghanistan and the continued economic bad times. So, going after the banks is a good way to sort of rev up his popular supporters.”
This is the perennial theme for both Democrats and journalists – businessmen are evil. Everybody else – from the homeless to government employees – must then be good by comparison.
And while it’s news, it’s certainly not new. CNN’s foot-in-the-mouth anchor Rick Sanchez railed on businesspeople back in an Oct. 23, “Campbell Brown” appearance. “This week, the president of the United States went after the fat cats on Wall Street, limiting their bonuses and cutting their pay by as much as 90 percent in some cases.”
ABC’s Terry Moran went even further during a “Nightline” segment in September. The anchor’s report was titled “Is Capitalism Evil?” and featured lefty filmmaking propagandist Michael Moore. Moran did as journalists often do and turned to the movie “Wall Street” to describe the industry by the same name. “Well, remember Gordon Gekko, the fictional fat cat who famously said, 'greed is good?" Now let's hear from a real life rabble-rouser who's got exactly the opposite message about capitalism.”
That mixture of populist rhetoric has policy impact. The White House approach is that other well- paid people must suffer. Obama’s pay czar Kenneth Feinberg has been coming down hard “on pay packages at four companies rescued with taxpayer money,” according to ABC.
The media and the administration are doing their best to spread that lack of wealth throughout top jobs around the nation. And they’re doing nothing to rein in the huge pay hikes in government service.
Ironically, Reuters reported that the IRS has hired “hundreds” of people “to catch rich tax cheats.” Perhaps Obama could spend some time introducing the new IRS workers to their compatriots in other departments – like Transportation. As USA Today explained, “when the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.”
Isn’t it great when government creates wealth with our tax dollars?
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.