Obama's Slow-Motion Social Darwinism
On April 3, President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the annual media luncheon sponsored by the Associated Press (or, if you will, the Administration's Press). Obama -- whose proposed budget in February was so farcical that Congress rejected it unanimously in late March -- bitterly criticized Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan as "thinly veiled social Darwinism." (The House did pass Ryan's plan, but Harry Reid's Senate has refused to consider it "despite the Senate Parliamentarian’s finding ... that the law requires it.")
According to Wikipedia, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics tells us that "a 'social Darwinist' could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist."
Historically, left-wing regimes have resorted to "survival of the fittest" social Darwinist offenses against humanity far more frequently than those on the right, especially if one classifies Nazi Germany as the predominantly leftist enterprise that it was.
In light of that history and current reality, Obama's "social Darwinism" accusation directed at Ryan and the GOP is especially outrageous coming from a guy whose administration has in so many ways been engaging in a slow-motion economic variant of it for over three years. The harm to relatively vulnerable and powerless groups arguably began with the advent of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy almost four years ago as Obama's general election campaign shifted into high gear.
Take the job market. The most disproportionately unfit for gainful employment are those who haven't obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for those in this group who are 25 or older reached 15.9% in November 2010, and is still 12.6%:
In the 20 years the government has tracked this statistic, all 38 of the highest (i.e., worst) readings have been during each of the Obama administration's 38 full months in office.
Also note that the monthly reading for this challenging group fell to its lowest level on record in October 2006 during a Republican administration.
That's not even the whole story. During the first quarter of 2012, this group's seasonally adjusted average employment-population ratio of 40.2% was three points -- or almost 7% -- below the same ratio during the fourth quarter of 2007, and has barely budged since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Also: because certain ethnic categories are heavily represented in the over-25 high school dropout category, the statistics just cited demonstrate yet again that the Obama economy has hit blacks and Hispanics the hardest.
The long-term unemployed are also extraordinarily vulnerable. In a normal recovery, risk-averse employers who are understandably reluctant to hire from this group end up doing so anyway as the job market tightens. The trouble is that this job market, except in certain professions, hasn't appreciably tightened in over four years. If we added those who are sitting on the sidelines who would really like to be working but who aren't considered part of the workforce to the current unemployment rolls, the jobless rate would be between 9.4% and 10.5% instead of the reported 8.2%.
While acknowledging that poverty as defined in the U.S. is nothing like the misery seen in so much of the rest of the world, the official poverty rate increased from 13.2% to 15.1% during Obama's first two years, a level not seen since the early 1990s. The deterioration has been so dramatic that the Census Bureau has created a rigged contraption called the Supplemental Poverty Measure, whose purpose appears to be to create an artificial impression in future years that things are improving when they really aren't.
Social Security is unsustainable in its current form, yet Obama has no answer other than to let it keep going and going. Social Security's actuaries have told us that the system will be forced to permanently cut benefits by about 25% in 2036 if nothing is done. Those for whom Social Security is their only or predominant source of income would be hurt the most if that occurs. Every year the economy continues to underperform will move the benefit-reduction date closer.
Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable in their current forms. Congress's "solution," ObamaCare, with its spiraling projected costs, work-demotivating and marriage-destroying subsidies, byzantine bureacracy, and individual liberty- and religion-disrespecting compulsions, would make matters far worse.
This brings us to the administration's most fundamental "survival of the fittest" elements.
Rather than fretting over out-of-power Paul Ryan and the Republicans making decisions about who will live and who will die, the people we have to worry about are in the White House or advising it right now:
- Ezekiel ("Zeke the Bleak") Emanuel would prefer to ration medical treatment based on the following priorities: “youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value.” Emanuel has also written that we should "not (be) guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia," and that in emergency situations with scarce resources medical professionals should use a “cycle of life” priority in deciding who should get treatment, giving preference to people 13 to 40 years old (as long as they are reasonably healthy, of course).
- Science czar John Holdren co-wrote a book advocating forced abortions, mass sterilization, and a "Planetary Regime" with the power of life and death over American citizens, and has never unequivocally disavowed his attachment to these ideas.
- Barack Obama himself infamously told the daughter of an elderly woman who received a pacemaker that it would be more appropriate from here on out that people in such situations be limited to taking pain pills.
The prospect of full-fledged "social Darwinism" is far more real under a continuation of our autopilot government combined with the implementation of ObamaCare than it is under anything Ryan or Republicans have proposed.
Taking it even one step further, if you want to see social Darwinism in its rawest form, just wait until a government which runs trillion-dollar deficits until it falls off the financial cliff has to radically slash everything in sight to survive. You don't want to think about what it will be like once everyone starts fighting over the leftovers in a country which has become largely if not mostly detached from its Judeo-Christian moral roots. If it ever comes to that, it surely won't be Paul Ryan's fault.