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Is It All About Prosperity?

July 9th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 2 Comments · Politics

Jay Cost questions President Obama’s priorities. He thinks the President should focus on improving the economy.

The 2008 election is a typical American response to economic woes. The country has been voting for out-parties during economic slowdowns since 1840, when it tossed Martin van Buren out on his duff. The United States votes for prosperity. It always has. It always will.

But Obama never promised us prosperity. In fact, he said several times that Americans would be called on to sacrifice under his presidency. His wife said that Barack will require Americans to work. Sacrifice means one gives up for others. This is not prosperity, but self-deprivation.

Obama promised to bring fundamental change to America — but not prosperity. He wants a nation that is more egalitarian, altruist, collectivist and statist, not prosperous.

Prosperity means Americans getting better off, their lives improving, as they have through most of the two centuries of America’s existence. When Reagan asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago,” he assumed people should prosper. So ’80s!

Prospering is selfish and greedy. Obama believes selfishness and greed are evil. Why would he want to preside over a prosperous America?

Obama represents a radical departure from the politics of the past. His policies are not aimed at prosperity but at restructuring America as a socialist nation. Instead of a chicken in every pot, Obama wants people to hand their chickens over to the state for redistribution. Those who had a whole chicken will be lucky to get a drumstick in return.

Many Democrats are getting nervous because they are not as radical as the leader of their party. Democrats outside of college towns and liberal urban centers have to contend with constituents still mired in selfishness. These bourgeois neanderthals actually expect their lives to get better. And they want their children to have even better lives. If those constituents see the state take more and more of the money they work hard for, and see less and less liberty in their lives, then a lot of Democrats could get voted out come November of 2010.

Jay Cost writes,

My scan of the history of American politics does not indicate that we’ve been governed so much by “alignments” – the systems of 1860, 1896, 1932, 1968, and so on. Instead, I see a country that votes for growth. That’s the true American ideology. Left, right, or middle – the average American wants prosperity. When the majority party fails to deliver growth after having been elected to do so – the electoral consequences can be significant.

For generations public schools and American culture have been trying to reorient people away from the selfish expectation of prosperity to an altruist-collectivist-statist way of thinking. They want mindless servants who will voluntarily walk to the sacrificial altar and give up everything for the collective. The fundamental purpose of environmentalism is to end prosperity. If Jay Cost is right that the average American still wants prosperity, it would be great news.

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Brad Harper

    I would guess that a very high percentage of supporting voters take Obama’s stated goals as one would a pep-rally speech, not holding them to any literal scrutiny, but only as emotional fuel. His words inspire moral confidence, to hell with the details.

    I think the average guy does desire an increase in their standard of living, but being disconnected from the principles of economics affords equal priority to any altruist sludge floating around in their head. To these types it’s all a big magic show. Why can’t I condone more Government services and expect the economy to prosper – they’re totally unrelated right?

  • Not_That

    I’ve heard them on the news today discussing the tax increase on the ‘very wealthy’ that the administration plans to enact to pay for socialized health-care. All that the news people were worried about is how this is going to affect the MIDDLE-CLASS Americans. They didn’t stop for a second to think how is this ok to tax the ‘very wealthy’. “Your boss will have his taxes increased! How will this affect you?”. The reason for this lies at the heart of the problem – Under the current form of government, where Democracy is rampant on the loose, a president can get elected for promising to tax only the top 5% of the population. Those top 5% won’t vote for him, but it’s ok because he just won over the other 95%. When government taxes the rich, the media is only concerned with small businesses, as if big businesses were of no importance. Obama can destroy the economy during his term, and still get re-elected, if only he rewards the masses enough while hurting the rich. Will EVERYONE be worse off? Sure. But as long as the masses feel favoured by the government, they will mindlessly vote in Obama again.

    Democracy should have it’s bounds. Just like in a proper Democracy you wouldn’t have the majority vote for the assasination of a person, so shouldn’t the government steal wealth from the rich under threat of a gun and give it to the poor. Government’s job is not to redistribute the wealth Mr. Obama, it’s to protect individual right. Get the hell out of my way.