Hoppy’s Commentary for Monday

If elections are, in fact, primarily about the future, then it is an anxious electorate that will decide whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will lead the country for the next four years.

A new poll by Rasmussen Reports finds “just 14 percent of Americans expect today’s children to be better off than their parents.” 

We have come to believe in this country—rightfully, because of our unprecedented progress—that things will always get better.  Our hard work and sacrifice, combined with the economic strength and political stability of the country, means our children will have better lives than we will, even if our lives have gotten cushy by historical standards.

But now the Great Recession, subsequent economic stagnation, spiraling debt, political ineffectiveness and hostile public discourse have combined to fuel the belief by 65 percent of American adults that today’s children will not be better off than their parents.  (Twenty-one percent say they are not sure.)

Figures released last Friday show the nation’s gross domestic product—the value of all goods and services produced—is growing at an annual rate of 1.5 percent.  That’s down from earlier this year, when the projected growth rate was two percent and off substantially from the last quarter of 2011, when it was over four percent.

Since the recession ended in 2009, the economy has grown a total of 5.8 percent. We are now in the second weakest recovery in the post WWII era. The economy is nowhere close to generating enough jobs to bring down unemployment and provide opportunity for young people coming out of college.

Amid the continued bad economic news, President Obama delivered what is, so far, the biggest gaffe of the campaign. 

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” he told an audience during a campaign stop in Roanoke, Virginia earlier this month.   “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.  Someone else made that happen.”

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there,” the President continued.  “It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

That’s just what we needed in the middle of a sluggish economy–a declaration by the President of the United States denigrating one of the country’s core values. 

Supporters of the President say he was just referring to infrastructure: roads, police and fire departments, the court system, etc.  But still, it was a blatant condescension to the millions of Americans who have realized their version of the American Dream by, in fact, being a little smarter and working a little harder. 

Those same successful people, by the way, contribute the largest share of the taxes that pay for the services that we all understand are necessary.  The question going forward is not whether we need a fire department or a court system, but rather do we want to expand an already over-sized federal government even more and use the heavy hand of Washington to equalize economic outcomes?

The “you didn’t build that” comment by the President was either a simple mistake or the revelation of a core belief.  I suspect the latter and it’s reflective of his background as a community organizer.  It’s also antithetical to the country’s rugged individualism and earned success as opposed to collectivism and redistribution. 

No wonder most Americans have serious doubts about their children’s future. 








More Hoppy's Commentary

Justice Says Video of I-81 Arrest 'Very, Very concerning.'
March 23, 2023 - 12:58 am
Coach Dawn Plitzuweit's Ignominious Departure
March 22, 2023 - 12:10 am
Justice Releases First Details of State Police Scandal
March 21, 2023 - 12:20 am
Kennedy Knew West Virginians Better Than Trump
March 20, 2023 - 12:28 am

Your Comments