Question for Obama: How Do Responsibility and Socialism Mix?

By Noel SheppardAssociate Editor,

According to President-elect Barack Obama's key spokesmen, the theme for Tuesday's inaugural speech will be responsibility.

Yet, given the amount Obama wants to spend to "stimulate" the economy, as well as the continually shrinking percentage of Americans that are required to pay federal income taxes, one has to wonder how responsibility fits in with all this socialism.

Consider first what future White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs toldFOX News's Chris Wallace on Sunday:

[caption id="attachment_5745" align="aligncenter" width="236" caption="Incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speaks during the taping of "FOX News Sunday" on Jan. 18 (AP Photo/FOX News Sunday, Freddie Lee) "][/caption]

Well, I think there's -- you need -- you know, we need more responsibility and accountability, certainly, in the way our government acts.

We have to have it, certainly, within many of our financial institutions that sort of have gotten us to where we are in this economic crisis today.

Obviously, the American people are all going to have to give some.

Well, not really, for this was Gibbs' qualifier:

What's important, though, is ensuring that those that have had the short end of the stick for the last few years -- make sure that they get the help that they need, that this administration begins to create the jobs and give some financial stability to families so that they can feel hopeful about going forward.

As such, we're not ALL "going to have to give some" are we?

Quite the contrary, if Obama gets his stimulus package passed, and it includes the tax credits he's after, less than 50 percent of the nation will actually be paying federal income taxes. That means more than half the population will have absolutely no fiscal responsibility under the new administration.

But that's not what his future Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel toldDavid Gregory on Sunday's "Meet the Press":

I think the--what you will hear is a time and a place in which we all have an era of responsibility, that too long there's been a culture of anything goes, and that to do what we need to do as a country, to, to regain America's greatness and continue to move forward and be an example around the world, that we need that culture of responsibility not just to be asked of the American people, but that its leaders must also lead by example. And so that for--in both business, in the corporate boardroom, to in government offices, that there has been a culture of--that anything goes and is permissible, and that we want--must once again restore a values system that respects and honors a sense of responsibility, and that we all have something to give to our country and have an obligation to do that, to return it to its greatness.

How are we ALL responsible, Rahm, when less than half of us are shouldering the financial burden? Exactly WHAT responsibilities will be asked of the majority of Americans who won't be paying federal income taxes under Obama's plan? Hmmm?

Furthermore, how does one ask people to be responsible while at the same time telling them that without government's assistance they can't survive? Doesn't this make government -- and, more to the point, the minority that are FUNDING the government! -- responsible for them, and, as such, them not responsible at all?

This seems quite a departure from John F. Kennedy's famous 1961 inaugural declaration, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

I highly doubt Kennedy intended those words apply to less than half of the nation.

Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the Media Research Center's He welcomes feedback at