I call this President Obama’s latest “spread the wealth” moment – from a town hall he did earlier today in Washington, DC (quotes bolded by me):
KARIN GALLO: About three years ago, just under three years ago, I took a job with the federal government, thinking it was a secure job. Recently I’ve been told I’m being laid off as of June 4th. And it is not an opportune time for me, I am seven months pregnant in a high-risk pregnancy, my first pregnancy. My husband and I are in the middle of building a house. We’re not sure if we’re gonna be completely approved. I’m not exactly in a position to waltz right in and — and do great on interviews, based on my timing with the birth. And — so, I’m stressed, I’m worried. I’m scared about what I — what my future holds. I definitely need a job. And — I just wonder what would you do, if you were me? (LAUGH)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Karin — first of all — I think you’ll do great on interviews, just based on — the way you asked the question. And congratulations on —
KARIN GALLO: Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: — on the new one comin’.
KARIN GALLO: Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Where were you working?
KARIN GALLO: The National Zoo. And — I would be non-essential employee number seven. (LAUGH)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well — look, I — let me — let me just first of all say that — workers like you for the federal, state, and local governments are so important for our vital services. And in — and it frustrates me sometimes when people talk about “government jobs” as if somehow those are worth less than private sector jobs. I — I think there’s nothin’ more important than — workin’ on behalf of the American people. And —
KARIN GALLO: Well, I — I thought that — I’d be more important and secure.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I — I agree with you. I think the challenge has been that — in some of these negotiations to try to reduce the deficit I think the feeling — particularly on the part of — some folks — on the other side of the aisle has been that we want to just cut and cut and cut. And that somehow is gonna create economic growth. Now, the truth of the matter is, our biggest problem when it comes to jobs right now is not in the private sector. We’ve been creating a lot of private sector jobs.
The reason the unemployment rate is still as high as it is, in part, is because there have been huge layoffs of government workers at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level. Teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers — they have really taken it — in the chin over the last several months. And so, what we’re trying to do is to see if we can stabilize the budget.
You can view video of the President’s remarks here.
First things first: It’s an outright lie to even insinuate that the private sector has been faring better than the public sector, as Jim Geraghty points out in a detailed post/analysis here. President Obama’s quote in defense of government workers was really just a SOP shout-out to public sector union workers, who he’s counting on to have his back in 2012. Secondly – and related to that, what he doesn’t mention, of course, is that some of those lost “government worker” jobs have come as a direct result of the refusal by Big Labor unions in some states to accept pay/hiring freezes, proposals to have union workers pay a portion of their healthcare premiums, etc.
As you can clearly see, Obama’s big government “compassionate” liberalism was on full display at the town hall. Who else but a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of massive government would say that “nothing is more important” than a government job? And, with all due respect to Karin Gallo, she – like many Americans – was under the mistaken impression that a government job was the most secure you can get. Well, if we’re talking about liberal administrations, typically government jobs ARE fairly secure — depending, in part, on the composition of Congress, anyway. But in reality, government jobs should by their very nature be among the least secure, and I don’t say that without any malice towards anyone who works for the government, because I realize that some government services are vital. But not all of them are, and that’s where the sharp divide comes between liberals and conservatives.
Ideally, most people are going to be employed in the private sector and able to fund their own way, which means less government workers at the state and national level are needed on the administrative end for things like unemployment, food stamps, welfare, etc. Ideally, government won’t over-regulate the private sector, meaning less need for government oversight of businesses. Ideally, people are going to invest in employer-based medical insurance plans or will pay out of pocket for medical coverage from a private plan with the money they earn from their private sector job, thus eliminating the need for government assistance when it comes to their health care needs. Ideally people will save throughout their whole lives so when it comes time for retirement they won’t have to rely solely on the government to live out their golden years.
Liberals would point out that, hey, it’s not an ideal world. And they’re right. It most certainly isn’t. The big myth about conservatives, however, is that they are “anti-government.” They’re not. Most of us know there is a need for government, but at a limited level. Most of us realize that some of the various safety nets put into place by the government are necessary … but on a short term basis, whereas liberals would have them go on a lifetime if they could, with no cut off date in sight. We can thank disastrous liberal ideas like the unnecessary “Great Society” programs of the sixties for enabling the devastating climate of dependency that exists to this day.
Even more troubling is the inherent liberal belief that when the unemployment rate is growing, “government must do something” (outside of getting out of the way). As the great Thomas Sowell wrote just a few days ago:
As for the Federal Reserve today, an April 25 headline in the Wall Street Journal read, “Fed Searches for Next Step.”
That is a big part of the problem. It is not politically possible for either the Federal Reserve or the Obama administration to leave the economy alone and let it recover on its own.
Both are under pressure to “do something.” If one thing doesn’t work, then they have to try something else. And if that doesn’t work, they have to come up with yet another gimmick.
All this constant experimentation by the government makes it more risky for investors to invest or employers to employ, when neither of them knows when the government’s rules of the game are going to change again. Whatever the merits or demerits of particular government policies, the uncertainty that such ever- changing policies generate can paralyze an economy today, just as it did back in the days of FDR.
The idea that the federal government has to step in whenever there is a downturn in the economy is an economic dogma that ignores much of the history of the United States.
During the first hundred years of the United States, there was no Federal Reserve. During the first 150 years, the federal government did not engage in massive intervention when the economy turned down.
No economic downturn in all those years ever lasted as long as the Great Depression of the 1930s, when both the Federal Reserve and the administrations of Hoover and of FDR intervened.
The myth that has come down to us says that the government had to intervene when there was mass unemployment in the 1930s. But the hard data show that there was no mass unemployment until after the federal government intervened. Yet, once having intervened, it was politically impossible to stop and let the economy recover on its own. That was the fundamental problem then — and now.
And that’s just the way liberals want it. They are the only group of people I know who expect everyone to believe that if you try the same thing over and over again that it will eventually work. The “solution” is to just keep pouring more money into it – and to continue to raise taxes until their efforts miraculously “work.” They’re also the only group of people I know who will turn their backs on the success that comes from good-faith conservative efforts to reform government entitlement programs, efforts which aid in paving the way for private sector growth and personal success – case in point, the welfare reform that happened during the Clinton years, thanks largely to the Republican Congress, who dragged an unwilling President Clinton kicking and screaming into signing the bill into law. Most bonafide liberals to this day will not acknowledge that the mid-1990s reform efforts of Republicans were successful in helping to get people off the public dole and back to work in the private sector. Why the reason for this enduring liberal belief? Because the less people who are on government assistance, the less there are potential “victims of capitalism/’the man'” for liberals to exploit under the guise of “rescuing.” If liberals hadn’t created the various “victim” classes that exist today (the poor, the uninsured, “minorities”, etc) they’d all find it hard to be taken even remotely seriously, let alone get elected or re-elected. By making people feel like victims, they also make the same vulnerable people feel like they need rescuing – by the government, whether it be in the form of money, more regulations, special laws, etc. Independence to the left is loathed and reviled; dependence is to be respected – and encouraged.
When’s the last time you heard President Obama heap praise on the private sector as he so frequently does with the public sector? Answer: Never. And that, my dear readers, tells us all we need to know about President Barack Obama.