So we have this interview with then-State Senator Obama from 2001:
There are three take-aways for me.
1) He's spent a great deal of his life thinking about how best to effect what he himself calls "redistributive change" in America. The comment about 'spreading the wealth around' was not a slip of the tongue, but the core of his plan for America.
2) He would like to see the Constitution understood less in terms of what he calls "negative liberty" -- what we would call "actual liberty," that is, the freedom from government influence in your life. His goals have to do with creating a system whereby the Federal and state governments have to provide every citizen with certain goods.
The terms "negative liberty" and "positive liberty" come from Sir Isaiah Berlin.
Berlin contended that under the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel (all committed to the positive concept of liberty), European political thinkers often equated liberty with forms of political discipline or constraint. This became politically dangerous when notions of positive liberty were, in the nineteenth century, used to defend nationalism, self-determination and the Communist idea of collective rational control over human destiny. Berlin argued that, following this line of thought, demands for freedom paradoxically become demands for forms of collective control and discipline – those deemed necessary for the "self-mastery" or self-determination of nations, classes, democratic communities, and even humanity as a whole. There is thus an elective affinity, for Berlin, between positive liberty and political totalitarianism."Negative liberty" is actual liberty. It's freedom from constraint, freedom to do what you can do, to be what you can be. Positive liberty is not the assurance that you'll have the chance to try for something, but assurance that you'll have that thing. The government will give it to you -- which means, the government will force other citizens to provide you with the means.
That is a fundamental alteration of our concept of the relationship between government and citizen. It is a radical mode, and one that Berlin rightly warned has often led to totalitarian modes.
3) Obama views this as an outgrowth of the "Civil Rights Movement." The video maker interprets this racially -- that Obama intends this redistribution to be about blacks and whites.
That's a plausible reading, since the Civil Rights Movement was chiefly about black and white issues. Nevertheless, I don't know that I believe that is what he meant to say.
Rather, I think that now-Senator Obama intends a vision that isn't race-based. Below I described his tax plan as "putting a third of America on welfare," as it would give people "tax cuts" beyond what they pay in taxes -- money for nothing. I think that really is the plan here: not to make payments to minorities, but to make payments to everyone below a certain threshhold.
The idea is that government should provide everyone with a basic standard of living. The Bible says: "If any would not work, neither should they eat." This is the opposite plan: whether you work or not, you shall eat, and have health care, and you shall vote, and be provided with a basic standard of living, and sufficient income to maintain it.
Those who want more than that common standard may work for it. However, because the money to provide that common standard to everyone else doesn't come from nowhere, these people who want more have to understand that they will be the ones bearing the brunt of the taxes. If, after they have paid those taxes they can still buy something better for themselves, that's fine.
Now, here's one of two great flaws with this plan: what if those people choose to work less, and have more time off? Their basic standard of living is guaranteed, and there's increasingly small reward for each hour of additional work.
Here's the other: The government is already in dire condition with underfunded pensions, Social Security, and Medicare. The government is already telling us that it will cancel or cut those programs as necessary, as they are "not true liabilities."
So now we're going to undertake to provide a vast array of basic, communal standards of living to everyone? We can't pay for the promises we've made already. And that's if people don't stop trying so hard, as each hour of their working life returns less reward to them.The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.So why don't we change to the corporate-style accounting method?
The loss reflects a continued deterioration in the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel. The loss — equal to $11,434 per household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.
Modern accounting requires that corporations, state governments and local governments count expenses immediately when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later.
The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security and Medicare don't show up when the government reports its financial condition.
Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.
Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities.The White House and the Congressional Budget Office oppose the change, arguing that the programs are not true liabilities because government can cancel or cut them.They're already telling you that they have no intention of making these payments. They are "not true liabilities." The government can "cancel or cut them."
The New Socialist Age will be short lived, if it arrives. When the government finishes showing us how it keeps the promises it made on Social Security and Federal pensions, we'll all be like the Russians Doc mentioned below. None of us will ever trust them again.
Nor should you, now. Keep that in mind as you vote, but more particularly, as you prepare for the coming economic troubles. Don't depend on any government promise when preparing for your retirement, or for any other reason. Take care of yourself. Take care of your own: your family, your neighbors, those whom you love.