Change You Actually Can’t Believe In
One hears it all around, from radio-show hosts to blog commenters to acquaintances, or perhaps feels it personally: the hint of a sense that maybe Obama’s worth a try. Oh, there are rationalizations, whether a cynical desire for entertainment, a curiosity over dice to be rolled, or even a scheme to let the whole unsustainable bomb of left-drifting government policy explode in his face, rather than a Republican’s. Some such considerations have merit (I’m particularly susceptible to the anybody-but-Hillary ploy), but let’s not proceed blindly.
It’s become the common wisdom that Obama is all rhetoric, no substance — like those Bill Clinton SOTU addresses that promised everything to everybody — but one can fill in his blanks. From his op-ed in yesterday’s Providence Journal:
We also have to be clear that the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. But even as politicians in Washington talk about family values, we haven’t had policies that value families. As the son of a single mother, I don’t accept an America that forces women to choose between their kids and their careers. That’s why I’ll expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover millions of additional Americans. We need to make sure you can take leave to care for elderly parents, and to join school activities with your kids.
We also need to expand paid leave. Today, 78 percent of workers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act don’t take leave because it isn’t paid. And this has a far greater impact on families with less income and less savings. To make sure our system is fair, I will press states to adopt paid-leave systems, and set aside $1.5 billion to fund the start-up costs and help states offset the costs to employers. And I’ll require employers to provide all of their workers with seven paid sick days a year, because you shouldn’t be punished for being sick.
With this, we have a taste of the socialist change promised by Candidate Barack: Government burdens sold to the masses at the expense of their employers, favoring the accommodation of poor choices (such as single motherhood), rather than encouraging citizens to change the culture to be more conducive to family life.
The result, which we can predict with near certainty, will be almost the opposite of that intended. Single mothers who are established in their careers won’t miss quite so many dance recitals, but young families will find themselves locked in intern limbo (as is happening in France). Public union workers won’t even have to negotiate for the benefit of paid time off for parental care, but more average Americans will have to work harder for less money and die before they get to retire.
I’m sure Obama’s rhetoric has a universally soothing tone as it flows from beginning to end through the loudspeakers — especially with the distraction of feeling part of a happening — but slow it to a stop, and we can see just how damaging his reign could be.