Jim Clark: When will President Obama see the light?
The recent announcement that 190 million Americans are receiving welfare benefits probably came as a surprise to nobody.
Note that this does not include Social Security payments, which are not welfare because (supposedly) they were prepaid by us workers and our employers.
The figure refers to the one third of our population receiving some manner or other of means-tested, taxpayer-funded subsidy.
Why can’t we be more like France? What? France? Yep. As the Associated Press headline screamed last week: “French leader banks on free market to save economy.”
With its staggering and mostly unemployed Muslim population, the nation that produced Napoléon has done an abrupt about face.
French President Francois Hollande, with poll numbers falling faster than Obama’s, has appointed Emmanuel Macron, a rich investment banker, as his new economic czar.
Hollande, who once proposed a 75 percent tax on millionaires, has given a rude digital gesture to his government’s socialist flank and now embraces free market policies.
He is also flirting with unpopular reforms to deal with France’s double digit unemployment and zero economic growth.
His prime minister, Manuel Valls, has put together a right-leaning cabinet and has dispatched its socialist members. He recently addressed an obviously pro-capitalist crowd in the lobby of France’s largest employer (which is reviled by the left) saying “I like companies.”
Hollande took office in 2012 amid promises to revive the economy and reduce unemployment. This year he announced more pro-business policies, a gradual deficit reduction and some tweaks to France’s generous social system.
As a result of these half-measures, his polls descended to the high teens, triggering this cabinet shakeup.
Hollande has now ordered $66 million in cost savings over three years sparing only schools and courts from the bean counter’s blue pencil.
The “new” Hollande is committed to reforms instead of increased spending to revive the economy.
Macron, the new 36-year-old economic minister, told the magazine Le Point that he would be open to rethinking France’s 35-hour work week.
He said that a flexible schedule would allow “an exit from this trap where the accumulation of rights for workers is transformed into an impairment for those who do not have to work.”
Sacre bleu! Not sure exactly what that means but it sounds tough.
When will President Obama see the light? Maybe if we offered him an omelet chef and couple of mistresses in addition to Air Force One? Probably just a pipe dream.
Leaders are rarely as flexible in midterm as President Hollande (the notable exception being Bill Clinton faced with a GOP Congress).
Just as it took the Churchill-Thatcher-Majors era to arrest Socialism in Great Britain and the Reagan-Bush era to begin to unravel the New Deal in the United States, we will probably have to rely on future leaders to reverse Obama’s program of “hope and change.”
However, hope springs eternal. Perhaps our commander in chief would be impressed by this quote, for which I am indebted to Incline’s Jim Nowlin. It is attributed to the Roman orator Cicero in 55 BC; it reads:
“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.”
Think Obama will get the hint?
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Nevada State and Washoe County Republican Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.