Obama’s mid-term trifecta, part 2: Income Inequality

February 19, 2014
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Two weeks ago I began a three part series on President Obama’s and his Democrat supporters 2014 trifecta agenda for the mid-term elections:  Climate Change, Income Inequality, and Immigration Reform.

Today’s column provides some context that you will never hear from the President and his allies as they push to the masses the false promise that if only others had less, they would have more.

Without further ado:

It is a fact that the wealth gap in America today is at its widest margin since 1929.

It is a fact that approximately 40% of this nation’s total wealth is controlled by the 1% sitting atop that wealth.

It is also a fact that with Harry Reid in danger of losing his iron grip on the United States Senate and President Obama’s last two years on the line, “income inequality” will be front and center between now and November 4th.

The message is that if the few didn’t have as much, the many would have more.

And the villain at the top of that message of blame is the sinister hedge fund manager.

Yet review the Forbes 100 richest Americans list and you’ll find only 7 hedge fund managers.  And in a twist of irony that only a conservative can truly love, the richest of those, at #19, is none other than the Great and Powerful Oz of left wing political causes, Mr. George Soros himself.

Media, tech, energy, retail and fashion account for over half the richest 100 with the rest as varied as the economy itself.

In short, yes Wall Street has its villains but they’re not the driving cause of Mr. Obama’s latest crisis of the moment.

And it’s a crisis that Mr. Obama might want to rethink.

The latest Gallup poll of the Most Important Problem Facing the U.S. shows unemployment/jobs, economy in general, and dissatisfaction with government as the priorities for a combined 62% of those polled.  Income inequality isn’t even on the radar.  Of the President’s 2014 trifecta (climate change, income inequality, immigration reform) only immigration made the top ten and that came in at a leading from behind 6 percent.

Another inconvenient fact is the news that income inequality has actually increased more in the five years Mr. Obama has been at the helm of the economy than it did during the Bush and Clinton years combined.  (Perhaps a little more “politician, heal thyself” and a lot less “it’s their fault” is in order?)

While NAFTA, and heartless multi-national corporations closing American factories for cheaper labor abroad gets much of the inequality blame, the truth is the American middle class as created by the growth of manufacturing in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s was an economic anomaly never to return.

When the guns went silent in 1945, America became the world’s  “company store” and for the next 3 decades we raked in the profits.

But for years now the company store has been steadily pricing itself out of the global market.  Unrealistic union demands, ideologically driven government regulations and uncompetitive tax policy, all partners in the cause.

Automation has left millions of Americans with skills no longer needed and social decay has created as many younger ones with an education and work ethic worthless in a modern economy.  (The real world does not give trophies for “participation”.)

This is not to slight the issue.  It is real and it deserves attention, but as the Gallup poll shows, it is not our most urgent concern and it will not be solved with sound bites and pandering.

Fomenting hate and envy against the “haves” may turn out votes in November but it will solve nothing.

If the Mr. Obama were truly concerned about inequality and its effects on the nation, he would compare the time he devotes to speeches and leisure versus the time he gives the American people actually working in the office to which he was elected.

The spending if time, that is the President’s true crisis of inequality.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the February 19, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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