Read Paul's bio and previous columns


October 20, 2008

America Cannot Afford Barack Obama’s Socialism


“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.”


This economic perspective could have been expressed by any of history’s best-known socialists: Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler. Thankfully, it is also a perspective that has been discredited by the collapse of the nations that have adopted it.


Indeed, when you “spread the wealth around,” no one has any incentive to create wealth. To the contrary, everyone has a reason to waste it.


Imagine yourself in a luxurious dining hall with 99 other people. The items on the menu are expensive, so, on average, you might have a moderately priced entrée and just might skip on the salad or dessert. You’ll hold off on the wine, because you know you can get the same bottles for a third of the price at the local wine shop. You care for your money, so naturally, you will try to save as much of it as you can for your life’s other expenses.


But what if you are told that the 100 people in the hall are running the same tab and will split it evenly when the evening is over? Your first thought might be: “That’s wonderful! Everything on my menu suddenly costs 1 percent of what it did before!” So you order the most appetizing appetizer, the juiciest filet mignon, the most decadent dessert, and one – or a couple – of the most expensive wines available. You thoroughly enjoy your dinner.


But then the bill comes, and you realize that every single person in the hall did the same thing as you. This should not come as a shock, for any rational human being would behave in the same manner under the circumstances. Now your bill is many times larger than what it would have been had you been responsible only for your own expenses. Oops.


When society is responsible for your lifestyle, you have every incentive to milk the system out of every penny you can get out of it, even when you will waste it. Such a system has never and will never be conducive to the creation of wealth.


Likewise, if you are one of 100 farmers responsible for a massive farm that will divide its profits evenly among the 100, you naturally have very little incentive to put in your best efforts and will predictably shirk your duties as often as possible. After all, 99 other people are working there, and your work will only account for a tiny percentage of the paycheck you receive. But guess what, this is also the mentality of the 99 other farmers. How much would the land produce under this system?


Now, the farm is divided into 100 parcels, one for each farmer, each of whom will receive all of the profits of his own parcel. Suddenly, every incentive now exists for the farmer to maximize the production of his land. The cumulative amount now produced by the 100 farmers far supersedes what little the land produced when the farmers were relying on each other.


This is wealth. This is how wealth is produced, and this is how it benefits society. But Barack Obama now proclaims that he wants to spread the wealth around. Even though the parcels are currently divided among the farmers, Obama wants to take the produce of the more industrious farmers and give it to those who have not created as much wealth.


Never mind that this socialist ideology goes against American ideals of freedom, individualism and rewarding success. It is economically disastrous, as it has proven to be over and over again in the collapse of economies all over the world.


How likely are the industrious farmers now to put in 16 hour days when eight of them go to someone else? How much incentive do the less industrious farmers now have to be more productive if they are receiving handouts forcefully taken from their successful neighbors?


Barack Obama, along with a Democratic Congress friendly to his redistributionist ideas, are frankly advocating policies that will eliminate the incentive each farmer has to produce wealth by forcing the industrious farmers to share their income with the others. Obama has openly said he wants to go back to having the 100 farmers sharing a massive, undivided farm.


This ideology kills wealth. Why would Steve take a risk and work seven-day weeks to start a new business (which would create jobs and push prices down for consumers) if he knows that more and more of his profit is now going to other people he has never met? Why would Mike work overtime and strive to move up the economic ladder if, at the next rung, he will cease getting the $1,000 checks (from his neighbor but channeled through the government) that he receives now?


When you hear people pointing out that Obama is, as shown by his short record, the most “liberal” member of the U.S. Senate, it is not just rhetoric. It means that he has expressed theories and voted in a manner that reflects an ideology of economic socialism, far beyond even what the average Democrat – such as Bill Clinton, who helped reform welfare – would adopt.


This ideology has been disastrous when applied partially in America, and completely ruinous when applied fully in other countries. The fact that Obama has embraced it as his economic world view is beyond troubling. It is devastating and would be irreversible for generations.

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI136. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Bob Franken
Lawrence J. Haas
Paul Ibrahim
Rob Kall
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Bob Maistros
Rachel Marsden
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Jamie Weinstein
Brett Noel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
Cindy Droog
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
D.F. Krause