WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 − In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to fundamentally change America. Because the population was weary from enduring two wars as well as an economy in free fall, Obama was elected, cheering the electorate with his sweeping promises of “Hope and Change.”
But the “fundamental change” he put in motion concentrated on improving the lives of select minority groups while causing continuing hardships for the country’s majority who, because of their vastly diverse backgrounds, remained largely silent. Today, as thoughts begin to turn to Election 2016, it’s time to focus on this silent majority.
Despite Obama’s taking office when the entire country was engulfed in a severe and protracted recession − from which we clearly could have recovered in a shorter time by historical measures − his top priority was not economic recovery and the much-needed jobs it would create. It was, instead, to help select minority groups. The first group on his list was the 16½ percent of the population that did not have health insurance.
Without considering the view of a single member of the opposition, he and Congressional Democrats forced his Affordable Care Act (ACA) through both the upper and lower chambers, primarily by making promises that he knew were not true. The apparent result has been that the number of uninsured has purportedly dropped to about 12 percent of the population, thereby helping about 4½ percent of the populace.
But what about the silent majority?
To pay for the sweeping new ACA entitlement, he imposed numerous taxes that will ultimately be paid by the majority of the people who form the middle class. Their the health insurance costs have gone up considerably, creating economic problems for them; and their deductibles have increased so much that many avoid physician-directed care because they can’t afford the additional out-of-pocket expense.
Obama was primarily concerned about the small percentage of the U.S. population that had no marketable skills. In the best of times, such unskilled workers can only secure jobs that pay the minimum wage. For that reason, the president believed he could help them by raising their wages above what they are actually worth to an employer. Through Congress, he pushed the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on government contracts and strongly encouraged an increase in the minimum wage for all workers nationwide.
While this move may appear to help unskilled workers, it actually hurts them in the long run because the number of jobs available to these workers will fall as a result of the higher minimumwage. Worse, the increase in labor costs for hiring minimum wage workers and the ripple effect this has on increasing wage pressures for hiring skilled workers will force businesses to raise prices for goods and services.
The result: While higher wages may initially result in billions of dollars of additional income for those unskilled workers who still have jobs, such wage increases also account for billions of dollars in the higher prices for goods and services imposed on the silent majority.
Because the president has failed to concentrate on growing the economy, the Federal Reserve has been forced to follow an extremely expansive monetary policy, which has resulted in interest rates hovering near zero for seven years and counting.
Investors currently see little return when purchasing bonds, which are generating historically low interest rate returns. Instead they put their funds into the stock market, causing the market to set successive record highs, resulting in increased wealth for the higher-income minority, but not for the silent majority.
Obama now speaks about the growing problem of income inequality − a problem he has made considerably worse over the course of his presidency. His policies have succeeded in increasing the income of the wealthy minority, while the average Americans who make up the silent majority struggle to stay afloat, while the lower-income minority struggles to find any job at all.
President Obama never seemed to understand that since this country’s inception in 1776, the basis for success in America was due to policies geared to benefit the majority without infringing on the basic rights of anyone. Obama’s policies have always concentrated on benefiting a select minority while harming the majority.
Even though he has increased welfare and food stamp payments to lower-income individuals − another redistributive program paid for by the silent majority of taxpayers − these people still claim that Obama has not done enough to provide opportunity for them. The silent majority mostly feel the same way, too. Clearly, the real solution to this current impasse is to implement policies that leads to growth in the economy. As history has continually shown, economic growth should provide opportunity for everyone.
The silent majority can be heard only on Election Day. Last November, they spoke loudly by soundly rejecting Obama’s policies, which he finally admitted were on the ballot. But even after the 2014 verdict was rendered, Obama remained deaf to the message that the silent majority sent. He continues to promote policies apparently geared toward a specific minority, while he continues to create more problems for the silent majority.
Next November, 2016, the silent majority is likely to speak loudly again and support candidates who, at long last, give their interests the highest priority.
* Cartoon above by Branco. Reprinted by permission and arrangement with LegalInsurrection.