President Obama said at a Chicago fundraiser on Sunday that the 2012 election is about two competing visions for America. “Too many folks still don’t have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today,” he said. “And so, the question in this election is which way do we go?” By wide margins, most Americans think the country is on the wrong track with Mr. Obama in the White House.
“Hope and change” have failed to deliver. More than three years into the Obama administration, economic growth has stagnated, unemployment is far higher than what was promised, and Mr. Obama has amassed more federal debt than every president from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined. When left-wing pundits promised this would be a historic presidency, this wasn’t what they had in mind.
“Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?” Mr. Obama asked rhetorically, referring to his own agenda. Prosperity has to be earned before Mr. Obama can share it. Income has to be created before Washington divvies it up. Wealth can’t be redistributed if it doesn’t exist. Mr. Obama assumes America’s engines of growth and innovation will simply keep on delivering, but the past three years have shown this is not the case. His administration has been fundamentally anti-business, anti-growth and anti-individual. His purported solutions rely on government works projects, coercive regulatory schemes and handing out vast sums of money the government doesn’t have.
This liberal vision is of shared poverty, not prosperity. Mr. Obama won’t stop until the golden goose is cooked.
“We have to keep working to create an America where you can make it here if you try,” Mr. Obama said. On July 13, however, when he uttered what has become his catchphrase, “you didn’t build that,” Mr. Obama explicitly ridiculed the elements of individual success. “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart,” he quipped. “There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
Smart, hardworking Americans get no credit for their efforts, while the White House thinks two of the most obvious symbols of the Democrats’ economic failure — soaring unemployment payments and record numbers of people on food stamps — benefit the economy. It shows how backward this vision of America is. Every food stamp issued should feature Mr. Obama’s picture on one side and an apology on the other for making the handout necessary.
Over the weekend, Republican challenger Mitt Romney warned that Mr. Obama is trying to change America into “something we might not recognize.” The United States doesn’t need a new vision; it simply needs to have its blinders removed. The American ethos of hard work, limited government and individual freedom can cure the problems the nation faces if the people are allowed to do it. At base, the competing visions of the future are simple: One looks to the American people to save the country; the other to a messiah named Obama.
James S. Robbins is a senior editorial writer at The Washington Times and author of the forthcoming book, “Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism, and the New American Identity” (Encounter, 2012).