This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Jan LaRue was published July 22, 2012 on the American Thinker website.
President Obama produced political tremors last week when he said in Roanoke that individual success comes from government so we need to give back by paying higher taxes. Combined with his executive order allowing states to opt out of requiring work for welfare, it’s a 10 on the Richter scale.
Contrary to Obama’s spinners, he wasn’t taken out of context. If it was a gaffe, he got stuck on stupid by repeating, “look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own.” His only “gaffe” was revealing his inner socialist.
The day before Obama’s “you didn’t build it” speech, he instructed Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to allow the states to exempt welfare recipients from work requirements under the bipartisan 1996 welfare reform act, “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” (TANF), signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. The exemption is clearly a violation of TANF and other federal statutes. Obama’s order is one more of his several infringements of congressional authority.
Obama hasn’t explained why, since government “built” the welfare system, he’s exempting recipients from giving back by working. It makes sense if his goal is fundamentally transforming the United States into a welfare state. It would explain why Obama’s Department of Agriculture is pushing more people to sign up for food stamps, which are now handed out to more than 46 million people, a 50 percent increase since 2008.
Here’s a better idea: In addition to enforcing work requirements on those who are able, condition welfare and unemployment benefits on “paying it forward.” As soon as recipients are gainfully employed, require them to begin repaying benefits based on their income level. This won’t work, of course, unless the benefits end at some point.
Obama tries to justify his progressive agenda with Scripture, such as when he misapplied “my brother’s keeper” to support wealth redistribution. He doesn’t have a prayer aligning his welfare-without-work order with the Apostle Paul’s admonition: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Paul, unlike Obama, is consistent with Moses, who required the needy to work for their welfare: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap all the way to the edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident; I am Yahweh your God” (Leviticus 23:22).
Anyone surprised by Obama’s speech and welfare order wasn’t paying attention when he said in 2008 that by electing him, “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
He told “Joe the Plumber” that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
Obama sees the Supreme Court’s as another tool to redistribute wealth:
“The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it’s been interpreted, and [sic] Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.”
Obama’s “somebody” is always government — our boss, benefactor and enabler. “We the Government” is a fitting preamble to Obama’s “living constitution.”
The true “somebody” Obama refuses to credit for providing education, building roads, bridges, the Internet, and every other societal benefit is the biggest demographic in the private sector — taxpayers — We the People — Obama’s fed-up and tapped-out boss.
Americans adhere to our founding Declaration. Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness come from God, who enables and blesses hard work with success.
“[The virtuous woman] evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings. She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong. She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night” (Proverbs 31:16-18).
“Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).
That’s from the God of the flat tax who is satisfied with 10 percent.