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Gary Bauer: Obama Should Be Bold

Americans love their affiliations – whether they’re sports teams, alma maters, business associations, faith or political parties. There are loud and proud advocates on every side of hot button political issues. Some politicians try to downplay their values or appear to be “centrist,” either out of fear of losing or inability to enact their agenda.

President Obama has proclaimed his belief in the free market before audiences of businessmen, and he bristles at being called a socialist. He mocks the idea and suggests there is no evidence to support it. Some folks disagree. Yesterday, Glenn Beck devoted his entire one-hour television program to the question of whether or not the president of the United States is a socialist.

How do you know whether someone is a Democrat, Republican, independent or socialist? You can infer it from their values and policies, but often they’ll tell you if asked. While Obama may not like to admit it today, he once publicly affiliated with a socialist political party in Chicago.

  • An August 1996 article in New Ground, a publication of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, makes it clear that Obama was seeking the support of the New Party, which was joined at the hip with ACORN: “Barack Obama, victor in the 13th State Senate District, encouraged NPers to join in his task forces on Voter Education and Voter Registration.”Here’s more. A November 1996 editorial in the leftwing Progressive Populist states, “New Party member Barack Obama was uncontested for a State Senate seat from Chicago.” Clearly, the socialist New Party claimed Obama as a member and Obama was actively seeking support from New Party members for his initiatives.

With a willing affiliation established (not just speculation by critics), let’s consider Obama’s two biggest policy initiatives: Cap and trade and healthcare “reform.”

  • Here’s how the New York Times described Obama’s cap-and-trade tax scheme last year: “On energy policy, Mr. Obama’s budget will show new revenues … from his proposal to require companies to buy permits from the government for greenhouse gas emissions… the permits would raise up to $300 billion a year… Mr. Obama would have the government use most of the revenues for relief to families to offset higher utility bills and related expenses. The remaining revenues would cover his proposals for $15 billion a year in spending and tax incentives to develop alternative energy.”If the goal was to raise $15 billion for alternative energy, why did Obama propose a tax 20 times larger? It has nothing to do with alternative energy, and everything to do with Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around.” Once this massive new tax has been imposed on utility companies, Obama plans to redistribute “most of the revenues” back to families he deems worthy of “relief.” Obama’s cap and trade policy is first and foremost a socialist redistribution scheme.
  • The politicians were careful not to admit it during the debate, but ObamaCare is a huge step toward European-style socialism. But once Obama had signed healthcare “reform” into law, liberal lips loosened a lot. Writing at, Bryon York provides a number of quotes from leading liberals demonstrating that for many the redistribution of wealth was a primary goal of healthcare “reform.”For example, on March 23rd a New York Times economics columnist described ObamaCare as “the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.” What happened three decades ago? Ronald Reagan began rolling back the confiscatory tax rates of the Carter era. (You can read York’s column here.)

I think the evidence (public affiliations and policy initiatives) is overwhelming that Barack Obama is not the staunch free market advocate he claims to be, and I don’t believe he should be ashamed of that nor should he try to hide it. To the contrary, I think he should be bold in his beliefs and proudly defend his views whatever they are. Freedom of speech is a great American tradition.

I happen to believe strongly that free enterprise – not Big Government – made America the world’s sole superpower. I believe strongly that socialism will threaten that status.

Here’s a final point I’d like to make. Many Christians, especially younger Christians, have bought into the notion of government-mandated “social justice.” They believe that the forced redistribution of wealth somehow completes Christ’s teachings. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Christ’s teachings were about our personal obligations to help the needy. Nowhere does Christ suggest that the brute force of Big Government should be used to take wealth from one group and give it those deemed more deserving. (Besides, liberals are always telling conservatives that we can’t legislative morality, so why are they trying to impose their morality on the rest of country through the tax laws?)

Charity fosters several important virtues: compassion, generosity and gratitude. Generous giving out of compassion for our fellow man acts as a check against greed. Compassion connects us to our family, friends, neighbors and even total strangers. That generosity fosters gratitude on the part of the recipient, who in turn is often inspired to help others.

In contrast, socialism crushes charity. High levels of taxation decrease disposable income, so folks inclined to give have less to give. If they are being taxed to support a welfare state, what is the incentive to give? Worse, government redistribution engenders a sense of entitlement (by those who are given what they have not earned), which leads to dependency. And the problem with socialism, as Margaret Thatcher once observed, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

This is a very important debate, my friends, because it is about the future of our great country – whether America will be a great country in the future. With your continued support, I promise American Values will boldly and proudly make the case for our traditional values of faith, family, freedom and, yes, free enterprise.

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