The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

New Obama normal: Poverty, unemployment, big biz stocks up

GDP recovery st louis fedJudging by the results of their policies, Democrats are the party of Big Business and don’t care about the poor and middle class.

Except for the deleterious effect of their economic, social and national security policies, nothing enrages me more about Democrats (elected, media and grassroots) than their claims that conservatives, tea partiers, and Republicans generally are racist, sexist, bigoted homophobes that care not for the poor, elderly and disabled.

The claim enrages me mainly because I abhor attempts to read the “hearts” of people when one can objectively judge the actual words, actions, and results of their policies. But the slanderous claims about Republicans also enrages me because of certain heart-readings of my own, even when I was a naive, and later, informed yet cowardly Democrat myself.

Enamored as an angry young man of the class-warfare rhetoric of most Democrats, I spewed forth the late ’70s and early ’80s talking points for several years myself. Then came matriculation as an economics major, President Ronald Reagan’s policies, and the resulting recovery that lasted for 25 years.

Seeing poor neighbors from the ’70s wracked by inflation and unemployment rise up in the mid-to-late ’80s to become homeowners sending their children to college — coupled with the actual economic numbers of the ’70s vs the post-Reagan ’80s — caused me to cringe every time I heard a fellow Democrat vilify Reagan and the party of Lincoln. Add to those facts that large majorities of Democrats opposed Reagan’s policies and every conservative, small-government initiative during my lifetime, eventually resulted in my own conservative epiphany and switch to the GOP before 9/11.

The fact is that the argument of the Democrats EVERY year of my adult (and most of my childhood) life has been that Republicans proposed spending less than Democrats demand be spent to prove that one “cared” about the poor. One can bemoan the “big” spending of Republicans during the George W. Bush years, but they still endured claims that they were heartless for spending too little by Democrats. Don’t believe it? Well you can look it up. And if Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s TRIPLING of Bush’s worst budget deficit EVERY year of Obama’s first term doesn’t cement who is THE party of big government, then nothing can.

But back to the “new normal“:

There are more poor in America today than at any time since the Great Depression. There were 32 million Americans collecting food stamps in 2008. Now that figure is 47 million. Spending on food stamps doubled between 2007 and 2011. Unemployment remained stubbornly high throughout the Obama first term, leading many to abandon the search for jobs altogether.

In 2008, 7.2 million Americans were getting Social Security disability payments. Today, it’s 8.7 million, an increase of 20 percent. A normal increase due to population expansion would have been 4 percent. Obama blamed his predecessor, but the steep decline in labor-force participation didn’t begin until six months into Obama’s term. Forbes magazine calculates that if long-term discouraged workers, those who’ve dropped out to collect disability payments, and those working part time because they cannot find full-time work were counted, the real unemployment rate would hover around 22 percent.

Median household income fell by 8 percent during the Obama first term — since the end of the recession in 2009 it’s dropped by an average of $3,040 per household — and income inequality grew compared with the Bush years. For African Americans, the drop in household income was even more dramatic — 11.1 percent.

Add to the above today’s report that “stocks rose on Friday, buoyed by sturdy corporate earnings from Procter & Gamble and Honeywell, with the S&P 500 poised for its longest winning streak in more than eight years,” and one could make a much better argument for Obama Democrats as the best friends of “robber barons” in the 2000s than Republicans in the late 1800s. After all, the standard of living for average Americans rose thanks to baron-provided kerosene, oil, electricity, railroads and automobiles.

By contrast, the increased tax and regulatory policies of President Barack Obama and the Democrats have helped cement the market share of big businesses that can afford to pay “protection” money at the expense of entrepreneurs and small businesses that lack clout on Capitol Hill.

Conservatives rightly recoil at the suggestion that Americans settle for a new normal of European-style high unemployment and declining standards of living. But conservatives would be wise to educate the public on just how “abnormal,” across the sweep of world history, has been American prosperity before and after the Great Depression of the 1930s and post-2007 America through today (see graph showing present so-called ‘recovery’ as worst since the 1930s).

The fact that Americans had the highest standard of living the world had ever seen as early as the mid-to-late 1700s, and throughout most of the 237 years of U.S. history, can be traced to the Founder’s conservative Constitution that limited government’s ability to squelch the free enterprise of individuals to amass private property.

Only after liberated men and women chose free-market capitalism as the vehicle of their happiness pursuits did the meddling big government experts (i.e. Democrats) take aim at spreading the wealth they played little part in accumulating.

It is the OLD normal of most of the past 5,000 years of recorded human history for people to be poor and ruled by totalitarian tyrants. American exceptionalism was not a chance circumstance, and if we don’t heed Reagan’s warning that we could lose our Liberty in a generation, our new normal will continue to more resemble the old.

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

Mike DeVine is a former op-ed columnist at the Charlotte Observer and legal editor of The (Decatur) Champion (legal organ of DeKalb County, Georgia). He is currently with the Ruf Law Firm in Atlanta Metro and conservative voice of the Atlanta Times News.

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