Reflecting on the Obama Years
The 2020 elections saw record turnouts of voters across the land and that is a great thing for our Republic.
The turmoil of the last four years caused by incessant conflict and attempts to oust a duly elected president caused many Americans to become weary of the turmoil. Some yearned for the “good old days” of the prior administration or just for tranquility even if it meant sacrificing one’s liberties.
Even ads from Joe Biden’s campaign stressed unity, an American President representing “all” Americans and an almost Jimmy Stewart like appeal to peace.
The progressives claimed the riots were President Trump’s fault and that only with a change of administration would we return to the good old days in which the progressives represented all Americans. Cries and pleas for unity were really pleas or demands for conformity to the progressive perspective or the riots would continue.
The stark absurdity of those claims, which went unchecked by the media, represented one of the biggest scams in American political history.
The “good-old” days of the progressives did not feel so good to those who felt completely unrepresented by Obama, Biden, Pelosi and the entire democratic party. That is part of the reason we had the stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton at the hands of Donald Trump in 2016.
The feel-good policies of many liberals were so fraught with unintended consequences that the very help that people believe they are providing to those less fortunate are, in fact, ensuring that those disadvantaged people are denied the very opportunities afforded to all other Americans.
The liberal programs that create the most dependency for people in need provide subsidies rather than help develop capabilities. Trump reversed that but the weariness of the assaults by progressives against the President had the reverse effect on people willing to return to the past failed policies even though so many were hurt beyond comprehension by those very policies. How soon we all forgot the pain and suffering of just four years ago.
Some of the many policies that had unintended consequences and cruel results include the progressives favorite shove it down your throat programs designed to assert government control over one’s life at the expense of your freedoms and liberties. Even the claims of unity are clamors for conformity. All one needed to do was conform and Antifa will stop rioting. Diversity of opinion was called hate speech and censored by Facebook, Twitter and “fact-checkers”, the thought police of the book 1984 were fully empowered by the progressive left during the Trump presidency in reaction to the stunning electoral results on 2016 to make sure such success could not repeat in 2020.
During the Obama years and prior, there was a primary and secondary school system that did not foster excellence with it students and was doomed to produce students not qualified of being able to become independent in the future.
The very foundation of any great culture is a quality education system which recognizes individual learning differences while at the same time fostering exceptional educational results based on the abilities of the student.
The unfunded liabilities of so many cities, communities, and states also had profound implications on our entire nation. When these pensions were originally granted such pension plans were relatively common in large corporate America.
The difference is that the unfunded obligations in corporate America were often met by corporate bankruptcies. In the case of government such unfunded obligations are met with massive tax increases leading citizens, most now without pensions, almost no hope of ever retiring.
The city of Detroit is but one example of a looming national pension disaster. While a corporation cannot force their customers to pay for its poorly thought out decisions, government however has the ability to pass laws to legislate irresponsible behavior and thereby harming its own citizens in the process.
Porous or open borders only foster an influx of people who will have limited ability to exercise the benefits of the American dream. Such policies relegate illegal immigrants to low paying and, in many cases, dead end jobs with limited future for them or their families.
As one final example of the cruelty of liberalism in by gone years, food stamp programs were exploding in cost and availability which masked the problem that economic opportunity was languishing. Massive government regulations and costs had made it difficult for employers to provide higher pay. Higher costs for apartments, food, clothing, and medical insurance make more and more Americans dependent upon the food stamp program.
If this country and if liberals had been serious about helping Americans and those less fortunate, policies needed to be enacted which encourage people to develop their own capabilities and to become self-sufficient. This is one of the reasons Trump prevailed in 2016.
The Obama years may have seemed tranquil to progressives, but they were destructive to the ideals of liberty, personal responsibility, self-determination and equal opportunities to live the life your parents could only dream of.
If only we had a press that was not so biased as to challenge the assumptions and commentary of all the candidates for President and not just those with whom they disagree.
The unity proclaimed by the left if Biden becomes president may become the bonds of servitude to a government which tolerates not diversity of opinion but only conformity to the state. Those who are willing to sacrifice safely and calm for their freedoms will get neither.
Frank Ryan, CPA, Col USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives. He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel, a CPA and specializes in corporate restructuring. He serves as Vice Chair of the PSERS Pension Board and its Chair of the Audit/Compliance Committee. He can be reached at [email protected]