On Tuesday, the President of the United States made two rather dubious assertions that require some unpacking.
First, people resent the poor. That declaration of faith went unsupported; it is an article of near religious devotion on the left and does not require any substantiation for the true believers. Second, this condition is perpetuated by conservative media outlets, and specifically the Fox News Chanel.
Speaking at an anti-poverty forum at Georgetown University, Obama denounced what he called “the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving.”
According to a Washington Examiner report via Joseph Lawler, the president blamed conservative media outlets for this endemic lack of compassion.
“I have to say, if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it’s a constant menu. They will find folks that make me mad. I don’t know where they find them,” Obama said. “They’re all like, ‘I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obamaphone, or whatever. That becomes a narrative that gets worked up.”
“And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who is raising two kids and doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills,” Obama added.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more stunningly brazen example of Obama’s preferred debating tactic than this. The president just loves erecting slanderous straw men in order to reject a “false choice” that precisely no one is suggesting in favor of a more reasonable course. This is a prime example of his compulsive need to engage in that manner of juvenile self-flattery.
Obama blamed the condition of America’s poor, a group he presumably imagines are immutably impoverished, on the lack of “investments.” This is a self-serving claim with little basis in reality. Conservatives long ago observed that Democrats say “investments” when they mean ineffectual, bureaucracy-ballooning spending programs funded by an increased tax burden, two perennial elements of the Democratic program that those who concern themselves with results actually do resent with righteous justification.
In the two years that Barack Obama’s party enjoyed near monopoly control over the federal government, from 2009 to 2010, federal spending rose a record 16 percent. Much of that increase in federal outlays went to expanding emergency health care relief, extending unemployment benefits, and increasing SNAP (food stamp) benefits. $3.2 trillion, 46 percent of federal spending in that period, went to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; all programs designed to benefit low-income households or seniors.
“The spending was a boon to the Washington area, the seat of government and home to many of its contractors,” The Washington Post reported. Conservatives resent that, too, and not because these Washington D.C.-based cronies are especially poor.
Of course, all this spending did nothing to increase standards of living or accelerate the pace of the economic recovery. This lamentable condition led to the fabrication of the prevalent myth on the left that it wasn’t their preferred policies that failed – they never do. Rather, America oppressive system of inter-class repression and persistent inequality were to blame for the nation’s ills. Conservatives won’t be surprised to learn that this, too, is bunk.
“A new study finds that contrary to widespread belief, it’s no harder to climb the economic ladder in the United States today than it was 20 years ago,” National Public Radio reported last year. That’s right. Despite all this added resentment directed at the poor from those who have theirs, the well-off have failed dismally to prevent those with aptitude and drive from improving their lot in life.
The researchers, led by Raj Chetty of Harvard University, looked at low-income people born in the early 1970s, and how likely they were to advance to top income brackets. The researchers then compared their economic mobility with that of people born later.
“What we found is that mobility has remained remarkably stable,” says Harvard’s Nathaniel Hendren, a co-author of the study. “The chance in which kids can climb up or down the income ladder has remained pretty stable over the last 20 to 25 years.”
Barack Obama and progressives are lurching in all directions to explain away a failed presidency. It’s an embarrassing spectacle.