Economy & Budget

Fairness or favoritism?

Fairness or favoritism?

We’ve heard a lot about fairness from the president lately. Perhaps his Chicago advisers think that if he distracts, divides and creates envy — all in the name of so-called fairness — Americans will ignore their thin wallets and stacked up bills. But, the people are smarter than backroom government policycrats.

If the president is reelected in January, he will have inherited a weak economy from his predecessor … himself. Then, who will he blame? The president was elected to solve problems — not to place blame and make excuses for failure. Like most Americans, I want the administration to succeed, but the evidence is not on its side: with unemployment higher than 8 percent for 42 months — even higher for recent college graduates at or above 50 percent and our deficit above $15 trillion — there isn’t much of a record to stand on.

So, today we find ourselves in the midst of a new Madison Ave campaign called: “Remake America to make America fair.”  Of course, fairness is in the eyes of the beholder, and it means different things to different folks.  But, it certainly sounds good at first glance.

Let’s look at this idea: The politics of “fairness” are used when politicians want you to ignore their dismal record and then claim that some people haven’t been treated fairly. This is a mere diversion from failed ideas. When you look at the record, you’ll see that this administration’s definition of fairness really means favoritism.

There is no fairness in crony capitalism.  That is favoritism.

There is no fairness in a perpetual bailout culture where the omnipotent government deems some too big to fail and others too small to succeed. That is favoritism.

There is no fairness in forcing Americans to fork over money to pay for failed pet endeavors, like Solyndra. That is favoritism.

There is no fairness in an unaccountable government that takes money from the people and squanders it in a failed stimulus (or two if the president had his way). That is favoritism.

There is no fairness in enforcing some laws while defiantly ignoring others. That is favoritism.

What this “fairness” debate or the politics of favoritism achieves is a systematic desire by government to create animosity — animosity towards those who have or are just trying to achieve “success” — whatever that definition is to them. It also creates animosity towards government from those who built it all on their own without being a member of the government’s favored class.

This debate degrades the American dream because it removes the equality of opportunity and creates a class of favorites — the class of government “friends” — where I come from we call this cronyism. There is no equality or fairness in forced equal outcomes. Since some people are more successful than others, to invoke Lincoln, “the Government, which cannot make everyone rich, is trying to accomplish what it can do — make(s) everyone poor”– and dependent on government for success.  This is fairness?

Instead of encouraging individuals to succeed on their own, this administration spends its time convincing citizens that they can only succeed by depending on the government. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, almost 50 percent of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives a government benefit. Half the population needs the government to make ends meet. What this really means is that bad policies have forced more Americans to grow dependent on the government.

The president wants to — in his own words — “remake America.” Remake it into what?  A nation where the government is running roughshod over our lives and our liberty? A country where no one is allowed to succeed unless government gives its permission? No thanks.  I thought we threw that idea away when we left the regime of King George III. America doesn’t need to be remade into a third world country totally oppressed by a government that wants America to be a European Nanny State and where special favoritism is given to government’s special friends.

We need to return to what our country was founded on: The pursuit of opportunity. Or, as Jefferson said, the right to “life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.” The American dream can come true with individualism and hard work, not with a government that punishes ambition, creativity and success while rewarding failure — all in the name of fairness.

The politics of favoritism under the guise of “fairness” is not the America that we need. Mr. President, the America that I know doesn’t need to be “remade.”

And that’s just the way it is.

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