When you don’t have a clue what you are doing you fall back on what you know. For Barack Obama, that means coercing social change by keeping America divided and angry. Our ex-activist, rabble-rousing president knows the money isn’t there to buy the illusion of prosperity. The votes don’t exist in Congress to overhaul the economy from the ground up, either. How much anger does our president think he should stir up in the name of social change? More important, in lieu of changing the tax code how much of the tab can be forced on employers?
America divided for social change: how much unfairness can we stand?
For activist Obama, social change means a grim portrait of life in America:
Minimum wage workers live in poverty.
Salaried and managerial workers aren’t paid overtime.
Women aren’t paid enough and earn less than men.
Illegal immigrants don’t get the pay, recognition, and legal status they deserve.
The disabled are not paid fairly.
The unemployed can’t find jobs and are denied handouts by Republicans.
Even if you are too young to work, unfairness is already doing its damage:
Toddlers don’t get the preschool start they need to succeed.
Children of color are disciplined unfairly by schools (see: Universal Preschool: Civil Rights and Race, or Bad Kids?).
What do all of these problems have in common other than keeping America divided and angry? They all require big government to step in. The question is how much can the government afford to give away and how much can it extort from businesses to make up for what it can’t?
Social change, anger, and divisiveness are all about the money.
Despite the efforts to summon America’s anger and outrage, social change is about money and political power, not the people. There is usually some small kernel of truth to the charges leveled by activist lawmakers, but even a passing nod to the facts will be discarded if it helps Democrats save themselves. Besides, outrageously general statements about unfairness in America make for great headlines and press releases. For example, is it true that all women in America suffer from unfair pay policies, as Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky insinuates?
These are great actions by the President, yet we in Congress need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, without delay, to help all women across the country, wherever they work.¹
Even respected, relatively non-controversial professions like accounting are suspect when it comes to presidential charges of profiting from unfairness:
If we invest in basic science and research; if we have a smarter tax code that rewards investment and rewards hard work instead of being rife with loopholes that is good business for a lot of accounting firms, but isn’t producing any value in our economy …²
Those accounting salaries may not be valued by our president, but an economy full of minimum wage workers mandated a raise by the government won’t produce much value for the extra money, either. This really isn’t about value or even about entering the middle class, though. It’s about the months leading up to November and an election pundits are already predicting will be a rout for Democratic candidates.
Is a divided, angry America the best way to force social change?
We have all seen the polls showing that America is not divided when it comes to being angry at Congress. Lawmakers on both sides have gone overboard to help keep Americans unhappy because there is always a chance we will be angry at their opposition. To that end, failure to pass legislation is no longer because of disagreement. Now the problem is obstruction:
Too many American workers and their families are suffering the consequences of costly partisan obstruction and every additional week of inaction throws another 72,000 Americans into a state of economic insecurity. It’s time for the House to finally take action.³
Unemployment benefits don’t bring about social change. Neither does raising the minimum wage, encouraging workers to report their employers, or making sure illegal immigrants don’t receive any less than American citizens who work and pay taxes. Social change should come because Americans want it, not because a president and political party are determined to make us angry enough to believe we must have it.