The more dependent this group becomes, and the more it enlarges — to the benefit of its Democrat benefactors.
The latest unemployment figures are depressing, but not for the usual reasons. They provide further confirmation of Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of America, and specifically through his creation of a growing government class.
The numbers show a massive increase in government jobs created over the last five months — 621,000, to be exact, dwarfing private-sector job growth. Those new government jobs account for a staggering 73% of overall job growth. In all, it means that 20.6 million citizens now work for government, out of 143 million people employed in America — or one in seven Americans.
This is exactly what Barack Obama and modern “progressives”/liberals want.
Indeed, the vision and policies and programs of progressives/liberals are rapidly generating a new government class that relies on government for its livelihood. The current such class — the one that re-elected Barack Obama — is comprised of federal workers; of state, county, and municipal workers; of employees in public-sector unions; of Americans collecting food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits; of those looking to government for their healthcare; and still more. They don’t all vote Democrat, but many of them do. Incredibly, there is even a growing group of young women — supple prey to demagogic Democrat politicians — who are angrily expecting Uncle Sam to pay for their contraception and abortions.
We might be tempted to corral this new class into Mitt Romney’s “47 percent,” though the much-maligned Romney label probably underestimates the total. Likewise, these citizens might be targeted to Rush Limbaugh’s “Santa Claus” category, though Rush, too, underestimated; after all, Santa Claus bears a mere gift or two once a year. He doesn’t provide full-time paychecks.
Either way, these new Americans constitute a huge and expanding segment of the population — and voters — who are becoming not merely dependent upon government but dependent upon Democrats. The more dependent this group becomes, and the more it enlarges, the more it redounds to the political benefit and enshrinement of liberal-Democrat politicians. We can argue whether or not this is intentional by Democrats as a whole, or a deliberate tactic of the wider progressive/liberal agenda, but there is no denying that it is a political reality that liberal Democrats will “benefit” from.
All of these segments of the citizenry — or, perhaps, constituencies — have steadily expanded over the last 100 years of progressivism/liberalism, and have surged under Barack Obama. Under Obama, there are a record 47 million Americans on food stamps, up from 32 million at the start of his presidency; that’s a 50-percent jump. The welfare rolls have exploded. Unemployment has not only increased but remains stuck and stagnant, with the actual unemployed around 15% and no doubt rising. (There are even 636,000 homeless Americans — double the number from the Reagan years, and totally unreported by the media.) Not only does the huge number of federal workers continue to balloon, but so do employees joining public-sector unions beholden to Democrats: SEIU, AFSCME, teachers organized through the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
Writing on this phenomenon, my colleague, Dr. Marvin Folkertsma, observes:
America’s mammoth federal government constitutes an interest group itself, which means it does all the things other public and private groups do to protect itself…. [A]bout half of the population receives some form of aid from the federal government, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, and these recipients constitute perhaps the most behemoth group of them all…. [C]lose to one-half of the entire population does not pay federal income taxes, a figure that climbed from 12 percent in 1969 to 34.1 percent at the beginning of the Bush administration, to its current figure as President Obama starts his second term.
That current figure is bad news for the literal solvency of the republic, but good news for those cynically hoping to expand the boundaries (and collective dependency net) of progressivism/liberalism.
The first flame of this roaring government class came with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, picking up from the spark lit by Woodrow Wilson’s progressive presidency two decades earlier. The next significant expansion came via President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. Incremental additions happened thereafter, with an agency or new department started here and there. To cite just one example, President Jimmy Carter, for instance, started the Department of Education.
Ronald Reagan, long before his game-changing presidency attempted to halt this, referred to this steady enlargement as “creeping socialism,” which is precisely what it is. Oblivious Americans stand idly by and naively vote for Leviathan, and for their country to slowly and steadily become socialist.
With President Barack Obama, another extension — actually, a major thrust — is underway, with the centralization of healthcare under Obamacare just one of the more obvious coming manifestations.
Naturally, it goes without saying that the American Founders did not envision this. No, they are rolling over in their graves. They argued over checks and balances, separation of powers. Most important, the Founders spoke eloquently and wisely of a virtuous citizenry, one capable of successfully self-governing itself before successfully self-governing the republic. George Washington expressed this conviction often, believing that virtue and morality were both synonymous and “indispensable supports” to the American republic. Influencing Washington and the Founders was a French philosopher named Charles Montesquieu, whose crucial work is utterly foreign to the current generation, and most certainly not taught in schools. His work included the seminal The Spirit of the Laws (1748). There, Montesquieu concluded that the best form of government is a self-governing one, and yet it is also the most difficult to maintain because it demands a virtuous populace.
In more recent times, great conservative minds like the late Russell Kirk spoke of a citizenry capable of “inner order.” Citizens needed to achieve “inner order” before their republic could maintain “outer order.” America needed what other great thinkers have called an “ordered liberty,” or a kind of “trained liberty.” Consider the line from one of this nation’s sacred political hymns, America, the Beautiful: “Confirm thy soul in self-control; Thy liberty in law.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?