Obama's Plan to Spread the Wealth
When Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber he planned to "spread the wealth around," many people didn't realize he was not talking about spreading the wealth only of the super-rich. Now that Obama is elected, he is moving rapidly to expand welfare handouts for non-taxpayers, running up a tremendous national debt that will inevitably lead to higher taxes on the Middle Class.
The enormity of this transfer of money away from working, taxpaying Americans to non-taxpayers (who voted overwhelmingly for Obama for President in 2008) has just been detailed in a sensational 53-page report by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to adequately describe the colossal amounts of money involved in the Obama Administration's shocking cash transfers.
Most people don't realize that the federal budget has become a vast machine for transferring wealth from the upper third of Americans (who pay 90% of federal income taxes) to the lowest third of people: those who earn less than 200% of the government-stipulated "poverty" level and pay no income tax. The size of this massive annual transfer rose by 40% to $714 billion over the last ten years, and is projected to rise to $1 trillion per year by the end of Obama's first term.
The term "welfare" embraces much more than the single program formerly called AFDC that was "reformed" and renamed TANF in 1996. "Welfare" includes 70 other programs that provide unearned cash and non-cash benefits to people living in lower-income households (but does not include Social Security, Medicare and unemployment compensation, which are earned through work and available to almost everyone).
Obama didn't invent these means-tested transfers; they mostly started with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society welfare programs. Like most government programs, the cost of welfare and aid-to-poor-and-lower-income persons has increased, and Obama demanded vast additional increases, which Congress passed in the Stimulus and Omnibus bills.
These programs are now the third most expensive government activity, ranking below Social Security and Medicare spending, and education spending. National Defense ranks only fourth. Welfare spending was 13 times greater in FY 2008 than it was when LBJ started the Great Society in 1964. Means-tested welfare spending then was 1.2% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and now has reached 5%.
The real cost of these programs is unknown to the American people (one could say, kept secret from them) because the spending is distributed by 14 departments and agencies though 71 different programs. We are fortunate that Rector, a numbers expert, has made a painstaking analysis and shone light upon these transfers.
In fiscal year (FY) 2008, government spending on aid to lower-income households amounted to $714 billion, of which approximately three-fourths was federal spending and one-fourth came from state government funds. States are required to match a percentage of federal welfare outlays.
Of the total means-tested spending in FY 2008, 52% was spent on medical care for the poor and lower-income persons, 37% was spent on cash, food, and housing aid, and 11% was spent on social services, training, child development, federal education aid, and community development for lower-income persons and communities. Roughly half goes to disabled or elderly persons, and the other half to households with children mostly headed by single mothers.
Rector ran an adding machine tape and concluded that means-tested handouts in FY 2008 amounted to about $16,800 for every poor person, defined as below 100% of the designated "poverty" level. When welfare spending is related to the larger group of persons who qualify for benefits below 200% of the "poverty" level, we are giving $28,000 per year to every lower-income four-person household.
Why are we told that we have so much inequality in the United States? That's because the Census counts only 4% of these welfare gifts to lower-income people as their income, and most government discussions of poverty do not even refer to the massive transfers of money taking place. When the government designates people as living below 100% or 200% of the "poverty" level, the government is not counting up to $16,800 per year in handouts and benefits.
To get an idea of how big is the debt Obama is creating, which ultimately will have to be paid by the Middle Class, let's compare spending on welfare to spending on fighting wars. Since the beginning of LBJ's Great Society spending, our government has spent $15.9 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars) on means-tested welfare, which is more than twice the cost of all major fighting wars in U.S. history. We spent only $4.1 trillion (in 2008 dollars) on World War II, which was the most expensive single undertaking in U.S. history.
Under Obama's budget, which has already been passed by Congress, federal welfare spending will increase by $88 billion in 2009, plus an additional $175 billion in 2010. This two-year increase of $263 billion will bring total federal and state welfare handouts to $890 billion a year, which is more than 6% of our GDP.
The Feminists Love Obama's Lies
The sanctimonious shock at Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) calling out "You lie" when Barack Obama said the health care bill will not insure illegal aliens reminds me of the Casablanca police chief saying he was "shocked, shocked" to learn that gambling was taking place in the saloon. Barack Obama's congressional pals had defeated the Republican amendment to require proof of legal residency in order to be covered by the health care bill, and the American people know that illegals are now getting free health care at emergency rooms.
The surprise was that nobody cried "You lie" when Obama said "Under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions." Anyone who follows this issue knows that all Democratic sponsored bills cover abortion funding, and that the Hyde Amendment will not apply to the health care bill because it only prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortions financed through Medicaid.
Obama promised Planned Parenthood that "In my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center, and at the heart of the plan that I propose." Obama also stated, "We're going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don't have health insurance. It'll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services." Nobody disputes the fact that "reproductive services" includes elective abortions.
Obviously, the feminists in Obama's audience knew he was lying when he said that no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions. If they hadn't believed Obama was lying, the feminists from Nancy Pelosi to Barbara Boxer to Barbara Mikulski would have erupted in audible protest.
No way will the feminists allow Obama's health care "reform" to exclude payment for abortions-on-demand. The feminists have already demonstrated their considerable clout in the Obama Administration, and abortion funding is central to their long-term and short-term goals.
Rush Limbaugh pointed out the media's hypocrisy about the use of the word lie: there was no outcry when the other Joe Wilson (Valerie Plame's husband) accused President George W. Bush of lying in his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. Liberal etiquette decrees that it's okay to call Bush a liar, but not Obama, with whom the media, as Bernard Goldberg detailed in his most recent book, have "a slobbering love affair."
Obama told another lie when he claimed that the Democrats' health care plan does not set up "panels of bureaucrats" with the authority to withhold life sustaining treatment from elderly patients. He compounded his lie by accusing anybody who talks about such death panels of "a lie, plain and simple" (and everybody knew this was a not-so-subtle reference to Sarah Palin).
Another lie in Obama's speech was saying that the plan does not jeopardize Medicare benefits which seniors currently receive. He plans to cut $500 billion out of Medicare "waste and inefficiency" which can't be done without reducing benefits.
Other lies in Obama's speech included his claim that the health care plan will not add to the deficit, that anyone who is satisfied with his current health plan can keep it, and that his plan will not require raising taxes on people earning less than $250,000 a year.
The fundamental lie in all the Democrats' plans is the pretense that they can insure an additional 50 million people without increasing costs and/or without reducing benefits for the other 250 million people who are basically satisfied with their current health care. People are protesting at Tea Parties and Town Meetings because they realize this is not possible no matter how many passionate speeches Obama gives.
The Tea Party march up Pennsylvania Avenue on September 12 was not only impressive in its size (estimates range from one to two million Americans) but also because of the messages on the hand-made signs they carried. They proved the marchers were authentic grass roots, not astroturf.
Here are some samples of the home-made signs that show the rising activism of We The People: "The change I hoped for was freedom." "Recycle Congress." "1 Czar down, 43 to go." "Don't Tread On Me." "You are not entitled to what I have earned." "I love my country but I'm scared of my government." "Investigate ACORN." "Your fair share is NOT my wallet." "Obamacare makes me sick." "I'm not your ATM." "Nurses Against Obamacare." "Abortion is not health care." "Undocumented worker" (under picture of Obama).
"Congress pack your bags; you're going home in 2010." "If you have time to read my sign, try reading some legislation." "If you're not outraged, you're not paying taxes." "Read the bill." "Bolsheviks promised change too." Quotes from John Adams. And a sign carried by a two-year-old child: "I owe $38,000."
Some signs were carried by immigrants: "Latinos are conservative too." "I had enough Socialism in the USSR."
Singing Heil Obama in New Jersey
Red alert to parents: If you send your children to a public school, they may be secretly indoctrinated in the cult of Obama-worship. If that's not your plan for your children, you had better act now, before it's too late.
We now know that the "I pledge" video shown in Utah in August, and only afterwards discovered by parents, was not isolated evidence of indoctrination of public schoolchildren in the new cult of Obama-worship. Second-graders in New Jersey were taught to sing songs of praise and fidelity to Barack Obama in February and again in June, and parents only found out about it this September.
Public schoolchildren are now forbidden to sing Christmas carols that mention the real meaning of Christmas (only songs like "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are allowed), but in New Jersey, second-graders were taught to sing the spiritual "Jesus Loves the Little Children" in which Jesus' name was replaced with Obama's. They sang, "He said red, yellow, black, or white/All are equal in his sight/Barack Hussein Obama."
Before Obama's election, it was considered a political no-no for Republicans to use his middle name. Beginning with his inauguration in January, he and his followers use Hussein to glorify his Muslim heritage and connections.
The revised lyrics teach the kids that Obama will "make this country strong again." The lyrics promote Obama's Lilly Ledbetter law by including the line: "He said we must be fair today/Equal work means equal pay."
New Jersey second-graders were taught to sing a second Obama-personality-cult song to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Here are some of the lyrics: "Mr. President we honor you today!/For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say 'hooray.'/Hooray, Mr. President! You're number one!/Hooray Mr. President, we're really proud of you!/So continue, Mr. President, we know you'll do the trick/So here's a hearty hip hooray, Hip, hip hooray!"
These songs were not spontaneous kiddie exuberance or extracurricular playground activity. The video makes clear that the teacher was methodically instructing the children, using one talented second-grader to demonstrate exactly how to sing the songs, and coaching students who forgot the words.
The teacher also led the children in giving a sort of Heil Obama salute. On cue, they outstretched their right hands, accentuating their community of action in praising Obama. A poster for the book "I Am Barack Obama" by activist Charisse Carney-Nunes can be seen near the chanting second-graders.
The New Jersey songs were first taught to the children at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in February to celebrate Black History Month, and then videotaped in June as part of a Father's Day tribute to Barack Obama. Only after the video was later posted on the internet did parents learn about it.
Who's responsible for this outrage? The teacher has retired with full pension and benefits. The principal, Dr. Denise King, defended the controversial song, making no apologies.
Parents quoted the principal as saying she would allow the performance again if she could. King touted her trip to Obama's Inauguration in the school yearbook along with Obama campaign slogans and pictures she took in Washington on January 20, and she has posted pictures of Obama in the school's hallways.
Superintendent Christopher Manno issued a written statement that the taping and its distribution were unauthorized, but failed to say whether the singing lesson was approved. State Education Commissioner Lucille Davy directed the superintendent to review this matter but declined to say what the review will cover or if any action would be taken.
Some shocked comments from parents included: "I can't believe it's our school. We don't want to praise this guy like he's a god or an idol or a king." "I felt this was reminiscent of 1930s Germany, and the indoctrination of children to worship their leader." RNC Chair Michael Steele said: "This is the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin's Russia or Kim Jong-il's North Korea."
Training Kids To Be Obama's Servants
A significant part of Barack Obama's plan to "change" America involves having the federal government take control of public school curriculum, plus compiling a database of personal information about each student. The takeover is planned to be accomplished by talking directly to the kids in their schools, and by attaching extraordinary strings to the $128 billion of Stimulus funds shoveled into education.
Obama's September 8 speech broadcast to every schoolchild in America kicked up a storm of controversy. A study plan for his speech produced by the U.S. Department of Education, which exposes the political motives, was pre-circulated.
The politics of Obama's extraordinary internet visit to all classrooms was reinforced by the August 28 showing of the "I pledge" video at an assembly of the Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington, Utah. This four-minute video calls on viewers to pledge "to be a servant to our President" and pledge "to be of service to Barack Obama."
This video presents about 50 celebrity-type persons saying "I pledge . . ." to take some leftwing action, such as supporting health care legislation, advancing stem cell research, working for UNICEF, or signing up with Serve.gov to do community service.
Many of the "I pledge" statements support goals of the leftwing environmentalists, such as pledging "to sell my obnoxious car and buy a hybrid," to reduce use of plastics, to buy less bottled water, not to use plastic bags at the grocery store, and not to flush a toilet after only urinating. One pledge parodies our traditional Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to the funk, to the united funk of funkadelica."
After vigorous criticism from parents, the Utah principal apologized for showing this video, but the children had already been propagandized to support Barack Obama.
Before Obama's September 8 speech to all schoolchildren, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent instructions to all school principals urging them to use this "historic moment" to have their students and teachers watch the President's speech "so they can compete in the global economy." Duncan told them to make use of the "Menu of classroom activities for grades PreK-6 and for grades 7-12."
The PreK-6 Menu tells teachers to "build background knowledge about the President" by reading books about Barack Obama. The Menu tells elementary students it is "important that we listen to the President," to "take notes while President Obama is talking," to "write down key ideas or phrases" from his speech, and to "discuss them after the speech." The Menu instructs teachers to "extend learning" of PreK-6 children by having them "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals." Their letters are to be "collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals." But, accountable to whom?
The Menu for grades 7-12 instructs teachers to post "notable quotes" from Obama's speeches on the board, and to have students "take notes while President Obama talks" and identify "the three most important words in the speech." Students should be queried: "What is President Obama inspiring you to do?" and "How will he inspire us?"
The hero worship and brainwashing built into these lesson plans are, to say the least, inappropriate. Parents should rise up and stop the public schools from using classroom or assembly time to teach schoolchildren to be cheerleaders for Obama and his policies.
Now comes the iron fist in the velvet glove. President Obama's nearly trillion-dollar Stimulus law designates over $100 billion for education, so it's no surprise that tight strings are attached.
Buried in the fine print is an ominous requirement to build a national electronic database of all children. Any state that receives federal education funds must "establish a longitudinal data system that includes the elements described in . . . the America COMPETES Act."
That law, passed a couple of years ago, sets out the goal of longitudinal databasing of "student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information" for all students from preschool through postsecondary education. This electronic database will contain "yearly test records of individual students," "a teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students," "student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned," and "student-level college readiness test scores."
Database collection on each student continues through college and into the workforce. States are required to enter "information regarding the extent to which students transition successfully from secondary school to postsecondary education."
Creation of a database of this magnitude is the sort of thing that totalitarian governments do but should not be allowed by those who value freedom. It's scary to think of Obama's czars and political operatives such as Rahm Emanuel having access to all that personal information on American citizens.
The long list of Obama's czars, accountable to no one except Obama himself, is one of his most worrisome and expensive notions. The czars are paid by the U.S. taxpayers but most are not confirmed by the Senate, although they appear to have the authority to override those who are confirmed. We had to rely on Glenn Beck to discover that the Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones, is or was a Communist and a self-described "rowdy black nationalist," and Jones has now resigned. So far, Obama has appointed at least 36 czars: