- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2012

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ‘cause they’re easier to please.” So goes a Rainmakers song. Beggars also are easier to control. Just ask the drug dealer. It is not compassion that motivates him to give away the first hits of heroin for free; it is the promise of control.

President Obama wants to give you free stuff. Lots and lots of free stuff. At least, he’d like you to believe it’s free. Free health care. Free welfare checks. Free food stamps. But as the saying goes, free stuff or freedom: Choose one.

As any teenager knows, you don’t escape mom and dad’s rules until you pay your own bills. Some say our overbearing government is similarly paternalistic, which is insulting enough but simply untrue. Good parents prepare their children for independence, whereas Mr. Obama wants to increase Americans’ dependence on his government.

Consider the pernicious nature of Mr. Obama’s deeply rooted hostility toward individual achievement: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” A rationale for confiscatory taxes? Certainly, but it’s so much worse.

Mr. Obama’s notion that government, rather than people, creates prosperity is not only an insult to every hardworking American, it is the subversion of the individual. If your success is the result of someone else, then you are nothing more than an expendable cog in the wheel. On a fundamental level, you no longer bring value to society other than taking up the space government provides you. So long as your rulers build roads and public schools, Mr. Obama claimed, you could be replaced.

As antithetical as this is to the American ideal — and to common sense — it gets worse. Much worse. Mr. Obama is actively attempting to sabotage the middle class by turning it into a group of beggars.

What exactly is the middle class?

Classes cannot be defined by some arbitrary income number, as politicians like Mr. Obama and his magic $250,000 would have you believe. What of the billionaire who opts to take no income for a year or the low-income family that realizes a one-time windfall by selling a farm? Neither suddenly changes class.

Instead, class structure is best defined functionally. Here’s how: The middle class consists of those who can take care of themselves if they keep working. Those in the upper class may choose to work but in reality don’t need to do so. Those in the lower class, for a host of different reasons, cannot take care of themselves. Mr. Obama is strategically targeting the middle class for elimination by forcing its dependence on government and, one by one, squeezing Americans down into the lower class.

Consider Obamacare. Despite his false promises, since President Obama has taken office, health insurance premiums have increased by more than $2,300 per family per year. But not to worry, Mr. Obama wants to give you free stuff! Obamacare provides “assistance” — in reality, welfare — to families earning up to $88,500 a year. Let that sink in. In Mr. Obama’s worldview, even families earning twice the nation’s median income should receive welfare.

Consider Mr. Obama’s new welfare rules. In 1996, President Clinton and a Republican Congress implemented welfare-to-work requirements. It worked astonishingly well. Welfare caseloads dropped 70 percent. The American dream was restored for nearly 9 million Americans who worked their way out of poverty. Mr. Obama, however, prefers dependency and recently gutted the work requirements. More free stuff!

The rise of the Obama welfare state is unmistakable. More than 100 million Americans are receiving some form of federal welfare: an astonishing 1 in 3 Americans. An unprecedented 1 in 6 Americans — 45 million — are on food stamps. A staggering 23 million are unemployed. This is a train with too many cabooses and not enough engines but that’s exactly what the food stamp president wants. After all, cabooses just quietly go wherever they’re told.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

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