America’s financial system is on government life support. Unemployment is rising almost as quickly as the stock market is falling. Small wonder that many voters find Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for “hope and change” appealing. Who doesn’t want change right now?
But hope and change are vague terms that allow everyone to project onto Obama’s campaign the changes they want. Far fewer voters realize what changes, exactly, Obama has promised: changes that would essentially change America — into France.
America is the world’s leading economic power because American workers are productive and entrepreneurial. The U.S. economy — and government policy — place relatively few barriers in the way of upward mobility. Americans who work hard can rise as high and far as their skills will take them, and many do.
Of the poorest fifth of Americans, three-fifths work their way into a higher income quintile within a decade. Remarkably, many of the much-maligned “rich” weren’t born that way. Only two-fifths of the top 1 percent of earners today earned as much ten years ago. The rest worked their way to the top during the last decade. Tens of millions of American families really do live the American Dream.
Today that dream seems under attack. High energy costs and the resulting financial crisis have dealt a severe blow to the American economy. But these are not uniquely American problems. These economic storms have also buffeted France, Germany, Britain and most other developed countries. Americas dynamic economic system didn’t cause this crisis any more than Germany’s heavily regulated system did.
Now consider the change Obama wants to bring. He promises to raise the top tax rate on the most financially successful Americans to confiscatory levels above 50 percent. Two senior Democratic committee chairmen have also proposed taxing the IRA and 401(k) retirement accounts that most Americans hold.
Obama wants to nationalize most health care, paid for with your tax dollars, and to spend hundreds of billions more on a raft of new federal programs. One pays workers who take jobs that pay less than their previous employer. Obama has pledged to take away secret ballot organizing elections so unions can publicly pressure workers into joining, or else. Once unions organize companies, the government would micromanage them, with federal bureaucrats writing every detail of new labor contracts.