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July 20th, 2012


By Nathan Tucker

Obama’s America is one built on a socialist social compact in which everyone is guaranteed a middle-class lifestyle, paid for by those who reach the upper income brackets because of this indispensable collectivist helping hand.  In Obama’s America, this “basic bargain” constitutes a truce between what Theodore Roosevelt termed the “conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess.”

At a campaign stop last Friday, President Obama now famously proclaimed that, “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own…somebody along the line gave you some help…when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together…We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people…You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

The somebody behind your success is this “basic American bargain.”  Though Obama has used the term ad nauseam in his reelection bid, Hillary Clinton first used it in her 2000 Democratic convention speech.  In pledging that “I still believe it takes a village,” she described the basic bargain as an agreement that “when people live up to their responsibilities, we ought to live up to ours and give them the tools and the opportunities they need to build better lives.”

In 2006, she wrote an op-ed declaring that this basic bargain was being undermined because “Americans are earning less, while the costs of a middle-class life have soared.”  Last December, Obama similarly bemoaned that “the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded” because “long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people.  Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success.”

In arguing that “the terms of our basic bargain must keep pace,” Clinton proposed in her op-ed that government guarantee a college education, a home, secure retirement, employment, and health insurance as a basic right of everyone.  These same “pillars of the American Dream” are found in all of Obama’s campaign speeches.  In a quirk, he generously adds an extra—”a little vacation with your family once in a while.  Nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.”

But while dressed up in terms of the American Dream, the “basic bargain” is anything but.  The American Dream is simply a promise, a hope, that has no claim on anyone but the individual for his own success or failure.  All that is required is for the government to protect his rights by maintaining law and order and to provide those functions that the free market is unable to perform (i.e., infrastructure, public utilities).

In contrast, the basic bargain of Obama’s America is nothing less than a cradle-to-grave welfare state.  As Obama put it in 2001, it is an obligation by government to “redistribute the wealth on your behalf” in the name of “political and economic justice.”  It is simply a socialist social compact.

Obama’s basic bargain strikes at very heart of capitalism—meritocracy.  In his speech last Friday, Obama remarked that:  “I’m always struck by people who think, ‘well, [my success] must be because I was just so smart.’  There are a lot of smart people out there.  ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’  Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

Obama’s basic bargain socializes success and nationalizes its profits.  It is based on the premise that individual success is impossible without collectivist government action.  And because your success story, like that of the infamous Julia, is a product of a smorgasbord of government programs, you owe a debt of gratitude, payable in the form of higher taxation, for all the statist did for you.  The government “invested” in you, now its time for you to return the favor.

Without merit, however, one’s fate is determined not by his own efforts, but by the decisions of those in political power.  One’s success becomes dependent on  government’s distributive policies and monies, a game only won by the special interest and politically connected.  In the end, without merit, all that is left is political cronyism.

Obama’s basic bargain is the socialization and dehumanization of man.  It is the subjection of man to the “greater good;” the denial of his unalienable right as a free moral agent to the success or failure of his labor.


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About the Author

Nathan W. Tucker
Nathan W. Tucker is a Davenport attorney and author of We The People: The Only Cure to Judicial Activism. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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