On October 31, 2008, Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States.” It’s now clear that his goal is not merely to “spread the wealth around,” as he told Joe the Plumber. Obama’s goal is to transform America from “one nation under God (as we proudly proclaim in our Pledge of Allegiance) to a totally secular country where we are allowed to recognize No Higher Power than the Federal Government. Obama has told us that “government is the only thing we all belong to.”
I urge you to read and distribute my newest book, co-authored with the distinguished scholar George Neumayr, called No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom. In many years of volunteering in political action, I never dreamed that religious freedom could ever be on the chopping block in America as a political issue. But it is one of the major issues in the 2012 election.
Obama is carrying on a tremendous war against religious liberty. He is trying to redefine the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment (the way Americans have understood it for more than two centuries) to mean “freedom of worship” only inside a church, but excluding any reference to religion in any public place or school.
With public opinion polls running about even for the Obama-Romney race, people keep asking what a second term for Obama will mean to the United States. He gave us a significant clue when (not realizing his mike was on), he told the Russian President that, after reelection, he will have “more flexibility” to give the Russians what they want on anti-missile defenses. If he would reduce our anti-missile defenses, then there is no limit to the damage he can and will do to American security.
Obama will also have “more flexibility” to limit our religious freedom. We can expect him to finish his job of “fundamentally transforming” us into a totally secular state where we will be denied the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion we have always known.
He will have “more flexibility” to take us deeper into debt, to borrow more billions from China, to issue hundreds of illegal executive orders in violation of congressional law, to impose same-sex marriage on our country and the military, to create millions more Americans dependent on government, and to take us down the road to European socialism.
Contrast in Platforms on Social Issues
The 2012 Republican Platform is a reliable statement of what grassroots voters care about. The Republican platform writers were upfront about social issues, decisively ignoring Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ foolish attempt to call a “truce” about social issues. The grassroots are smart enough to have figured out that social issues (a) motivate voters and (b) cause the enormous spending and debt that Barack Obama has piled up, a fact that establishment gurus and typical campaign strategists like to ignore.
Recognizing how social issues motivate their members, the Democrats embraced them in their platform. The Democratic platform states: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion [note: the Democrats no longer say “rare”], regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” Most Democratic Convention speakers, regardless of their assigned topic, proclaimed their fidelity to abortion rights.
The Republican platform is very different: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortions or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage.”
For the first time, the Democrats’ platform strongly supports same-sex marriage. It states: “We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”
The Republican platform, on the other hand, states: “Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Amazing Vote at Democratic Convention
When the Democratic Party Platform came to the Convention floor for approval, it omitted the name of God (which had been in previous Democratic Party Platforms). A motion was made on the Convention floor to put God back into the Platform, a motion that required a two-thirds majority to pass.
The chair called for a voice vote, and the Ayes and Nays sounded equal. The chairman looked baffled and called for a second vote. Again the Ayes and Nays sounded equal. Looking flustered, the chairman called for a third vote which again sounded equally divided, or even a bigger and louder No vote. The chairman then read a pre-scripted ruling from the teleprompter, which was obviously false. He ruled that the motion received a two-thirds affirmative vote and was adopted, and rapidly moved on to other Convention business.
It’s important for all Americans to know that at least half of the Democratic National Convention delegates thus voted to ban “God” from their Party platform.
Obama Sabotages Welfare Reform
President Obama on July 12 ended welfare reform, the crowning achievement of the Republican Congress of 1996. That reform succeeded in reducing the welfare rolls by almost half, and was so popular with the American people that Bill Clinton felt compelled to sign it.
The magic bullet that achieved this authentic reform was requiring able-bodied adults to work, or at least prepare for work, as a condition of receiving taxpayer handouts. This requirement imposed on welfare recipients was not only good for the taxpayers, it was good for the recipients because it put them on the path to self-sufficiency and a decline in child poverty.
The welfare system that was formerly called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was retitled Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The change wasn’t merely semantic; the plan was really to make welfare temporary, helping families to give up dependency on government.
Before 1996, there was nothing temporary about welfare. It was a permanent subsidy for a lifestyle that subsidized illegitimacy and avoidance of responsibility for individual behavior. Contrary to claims of those who opposed the new system, the dramatic success of the Republican welfare reform was due not to giving more flexibility to state governments, but was due to putting tough restrictions on spending the money by the states.
Obama’s goal is to “spread the wealth” to produce more dependency on government. As he probably learned at the Socialist Workers conference he attended while at Columbia, and then as a student of Chicago radical Saul Alinsky, the best way to do that is to load more people onto the welfare rolls.
In gutting the Republican welfare reform, Obama ignored the fact that the work requirement written into the TANF law is “mandatory.” He just went ahead and issued a waiver anyway, claiming it is OK under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. However, the TANF law states that waivers cannot be issued unless they are specifically listed in Section 1115. Welfare’s “work” requirement is not listed.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, who worked on writing the 1996 welfare reform, says the “mandatory work requirements” which are contained in Section 407 were deliberately not listed in Section 1115 and therefore cannot legally be waived. He reminds us that before 1996, Democrats had evaded work requirements by allowing such prevarications as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest to qualify as “work.”
Under the Republican welfare reform, every state must make 40% of welfare recipients work at least 30 hours a week, or look for work, or take on-the-job-training, vocational schooling or some job-readiness training.
Our nearly trillion-dollar-a-year 70-plus programs of cash and benefits handouts to people living below a designated poverty line are a fiscal issue caused largely by the social issues of marriage-absence and illegitimacy. Yet President Obama unilaterally and illegally increased this spending by gutting the work requirement for welfare recipients, which is our only real hope of reducing the fiscal cost.
It’s a failure of leadership that Republicans are not loudly denouncing Obama’s costly illegal action. They should also be demanding that Congress extend the work requirement to many other welfare-type handouts such as food stamps, public housing, and cell phones. We now have 45 million, one in seven Americans, receiving food stamps. This high number is concealed from the taxpayers by giving recipients electronic debit cards so that others going through the line at the supermarket cash register can’t detect who is being fed by the taxpayers.
Democrats Have No Plan to Create Jobs
Obama’s expensive Stimulus plan failed, and now he offers no plan to create more jobs, or to build individual independence and self-reliance. We hope for a change in November.
The current unemployment figure is 8.1%. And 40.7% of those have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Those numbers tell only a small part of Obama’s failure to deliver on his promises. The real unemployment figure is closer to 19% because the official count doesn’t include (a) the 8 million unemployed who have given up and stopped looking for a job, and (b) the people who have had to settle for part-time work, and (c) those who had to take lower-paid jobs well below their qualifications, and (d) the 11 million who are out of the workforce collecting Social Security disability checks. The plight of young Americans is even worse. For 18- to 29-year-olds, the unemployment rate is 12.7%.
The majority of jobs lost during our current depression were well-paying jobs, while the majority of jobs that Obama brags about increasing are lower-paying jobs.
The National Employment Law Project reports that occupations in construction, manufacturing and information, with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13, accounted for 60% of job losses and only 22% of job growth. Meanwhile, 58% of the job growth Obama bragged about was lower-paying jobs with hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83.
The jobs with the fastest growth were retail sales, where the median wage is $10.97 an hour, and food preparation jobs that pay $9.04 an hour. Some of these jobs are taken by entry-level workers, but many others are taken by older Americans laid off from well-paying jobs.
A Labor Day weekend report also came from the Department of Agriculture telling us that 46,670,373 Americans are now receiving food stamps at an annual cost to the taxpayers of $71.8 billion. Do we really believe that more than 46 million Americans would go hungry without a government handout?
One of Obama’s much talked-about solutions for the jobs problem is to send more kids to college. But most recent college graduates cannot get jobs that require a college degree or justify the enormous debt they incur in order to attend college.
The jobs aren’t there that justify either individual or taxpayer debt to increase college attendance. The Labor Department predicts that, of the top ten occupations expected to provide the most jobs between now and 2020, three will require no more than a high school education, and five others won’t even require a high school diploma.
Even those jobs would be welcomed by unemployed Americans, but many of those fastest growing jobs are taken by immigrants, legal and illegal. Obama’s refusal to enforce the laws against illegal aliens and his prosecution of states trying to do what his administration is failing to do, plus his illegal order to give work permits to 1.7 million young illegal aliens, add up to a direct attack on the job opportunities of millions of Americans.
Social Issues Cost a Lot of Tax Money
Those who say we can just concentrate on fiscal issues and ignore social issues are refusing to face the reality that federal spending is driven by social issues, especially the low marriage rate and the high illegitimacy rate. The Census Bureau reports that the poverty rate of single-parent households is 27.3%, but the poverty rate of married couples is only 6.2%.
The current depression has not only changed the kind of jobs that people take but is changing the American character from self-reliance to dependence on government. During the Great Depression of the 1930s when there were no entitlements, Americans didn’t look to government for handouts and they grew up to become the Greatest Generation.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, entitlement payments in 1960 amounted to $24 billion (in current dollars), but by 2010 had climbed to $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services. In 1960, entitlement payments were well below a third of federal government expenditures, about the same proportion as in 1940. But now, entitlements amount to two-thirds of federal spending, with all other government functions reduced to one-third. These handouts are financed by borrowing from Communist China, leaving a colossal debt to hang around the necks of our children and grandchildren.
America is now a very different country from what it used to be. That enormous growth of entitlements over the last 50 years has transformed not only the purpose of government, but also the American character.
Bad Facts About Obama’s Prospects
Unemployment remains the prime political issue, but a tsunami of legal and illegal immigrants is still allowed to take jobs away from U.S. citizens. Barack Obama’s extravagant spending is hanging an albatross around the necks of our children and grandchildren.
Our future of constitutional government will be endangered if Obama has the opportunity to name the next two Supreme Court justices. He says prime qualifications for his judicial nominees will be (not devotion to the Constitution as written but) support for abortion rights and “empathy.”
Obama showed his contempt for our legislative process by his effort to get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), despite his constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Obama showed his contempt for our constitutional legislative process by issuing an executive order to implement the DREAM Act, which Congress has refused to pass. That act will effectively give amnesty to a million and a half young illegal aliens.
Obama’s illegal waivers of the work requirement for welfare payments are yet another egregiously unlawful action. The Attorneys General of nine states issued a joint statement detailing 21 illegal or unconstitutional actions of Obama. It looks like he wants to make Congress irrelevant and have the Executive Branch create and promulgate all legislation.
Despite the consistent majority opposition of the American people, Obama continues to push for implementation of ObamaCare, and continues to demand that schools, colleges and hospitals built and maintained by Christian denominations pay for procedures and drugs they believe are immoral, or else pay exorbitant fines that spell speedy bankruptcy.
Obama is pushing hard for a federal takeover of what public schools are teaching our kids by promoting a dumbed-down curriculum called Common Core. He is baiting the states to sign up by giving waivers to 26 states that excuse them from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law. His lawyers carried a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to force a Lutheran school to rehire a teacher the school had fired. Fortunately, the Supreme Court slapped down the administration attorneys with a rare 9-0 decision.
Obama continues to reduce U.S. production of energy by prohibiting expanded drilling for oil on our own lands and regulating coal mines out of existence. To add insult to injury, he gave a big hunk of U.S. taxpayers’ money to Brazil to finance that country’s drilling for oil.
Beware of the Lame Duck Session
When Congress goes back into session after the November 6 election, Congress will have a month to create a lot of mischief. Congressmen who were defeated will still be able to vote, and they probably will never again have to face the voters.
It was in a Lame Duck session in 1994 that Congress put us into the World Trade Organization. That Lame Duck session took place after the dramatic Republican victory of November 1994 but before the new Members of Congress took office in January. Almost a third of those who voted for the WTO had already been rejected by their constituents. Passing WTO makes much of our international trade subject to decisions by a bunch of anti-American foreign bureaucrats who rule against us most of the time. So we must be on guard for Lame Duck mischief this year, especially in regard to United Nations treaties.
Obama continues to try to cut holes in our sovereignty by pushing ratification of many United Nations treaties. This includes the ridiculous UN treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the dangerous Law of the Sea treaty, and the UN treaty on ownership of guns that threatens our Second Amendment. Obama’s failure to adequately defend our consulate in Libya where our Ambassador was brutally killed is a tremendous international embarrassment.
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. She has been a leader of the pro-family movement since 1972, when she started her national volunteer organization now called Eagle Forum.