Art Callaham: President needs return flight from 'la-la land'

July 29, 2012|By ART CALLAHAM

I recently wrote a column about getting along, but it will have to wait until next week. The theme of that column has to do with political factions getting along for the betterment of people as a whole.  But after our esteemed president, his administration and his staff spent time in “la la land,” I just don’t have getting along in my heart for today’s column.

Two weeks ago the Obama administration gutted the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 (President Bill Clinton signed the law) by abolishing reasonable standards that define work.

This blatant gutting may allow states to redefine “work” (in welfare parlance) to include such activities as bed rest, reading books on self-motivation, hula dancing and many other activities that in my opinion and the opinion of many rational Americans are anything but work. Why? To allow more people to qualify for welfare by not working —at the very least, performing activities that you and I would never define as work.

But wait, there’s more. The Obama staff intimated that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a “felon.” Open up the big house, throw Romney in for five to 10 with no time off for good behavior! (If I don’t make a little light of this I just get sick.) Romney asked for an apology, and the president, personally, refused to issue one or instruct his staff to issue one.

Do we elect a president to be judge and to appoint a staff to be jury in the court of public opinion? I don’t think so. Has the most powerful office in the world been reduced to a name-calling bunch of third graders? Just who is this man that occupies the “people’s house” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.?

Oh, that I could stop here.  The president of the United States, the leader of this nation founded in part on a “work ethic” that includes an entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom to take risk that might pay off in a better life, stood in front of a crowd and implied that if you, as a business person, were successful, someone else (insert government) did it for you. Obama inferred that all manner of success starts and ends with government.

So all of you successful business folks, you owe your success to the government. Taxes are not enough, the fact that our government works for you and that government is “by the people and for the people” is not enough.

Seems to me that government by the people and for the people protects us from anarchy; yet the government Mr. Obama seems to espouse looks more and more like a monarchy. Hail King Obama, his court and courtiers, may government by the government and for the government not perish from the earth. Far-fetched two weeks ago, I would have thought, but after the president’s trip into another world I personally am not enjoying his travelogue or the potential outcome.

OK, had my rant, so let’s try to look at the past few days in national politics rationally.  Yes, some folks need a hand up and I believe we as humans have a responsibility to help those truly in need. In 1996 a bi-partisan Congress worked out standards of work that kept humanness and self-esteem in a reasonable government offer (welfare reformed) to help those in need. 

Some bureaucrat appointed by the president should not have the power to change those standards without legislation including public discussion.  Our president should never, never allow this to happen.

Mitt Romney, a felon? Mr. President, in the words of any New Jerseyite: “Get outta here.” Apologize and send a couple of your staffers packing; those actions might renew a small amount of the luster on your office that you and your staff tarnished.

And finally, Mr. Obama, cut the class warfare bull. Today, some of the people in this nation (approximately 50 percent) some rich, some poor and many in the middle class, pay for the vast majority of the operational costs of our government. If you desire that all people should pay their fair share, then push to amend the taxing laws so that all pay some. 

The people of this nation founded this government; no, the government is not omnipotent, it serves at the will of the people. Businesses, large or small, made up of people operating in a free market, without fear of government take-over, make this nation great. Our government encourages success but does not cause it. 

Art Callaham is a community activist and president of the Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees.

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