Our latest Guest Dispatch comes from Arthur Freyre, an attorney and conservative political activist in Miami, Florida. Arthur outlines two ways to look at the political compassion index — or whose vision for America will help get the economy moving again. The Romney comments on the 47% of Americans who would vote for him, secretly recorded by an operative from the left, was a good thing. When close to half of our country depends on the government for some type of service, you should be trying to downplay it. No one likes to be struggling economically. And no one likes to depend on the state or a collective for their well-being. The Obama-Biden’s campaign use of Romney’s remarks to try an embarrass the GOP will backfire. — Jason Poblete
By Arthur Freyre, Esq.
This past week, there has been a debate on compassion and the role of government. It is okay if you missed it on the news, but it was the talk around town (even down here in political South Florida). Anywhere you went, when people spoke on politics, it was on their mind.
A tape was released where Mitt Romney was talking about the “47 percent” of Americans that would not vote for him. While liberals were saying, “Elitist and Out of touch,” conservatives were talking about what he meant by remark.
In addition to the 47 percent tape, an article was published discussing compassion in an unrelated way. Mort Zuckermann penned a piece in U.S. News & World Reports that focused on Obama’s economic record. It is a useful backdrop with which to frame our discussion about the political compassion index. A summary:
- Personal income has dropped in the past four years. It has dropped to the level of 1995;
- 15 percent of the American population is receiving food stamps;
- 11 million Americans are collecting federal disability checks;
- The average length of time for being unemployed is 40 weeks; and,
- The baby boomer population is delaying retirement because their net worth has shrunk. As a result, recent college graduates are having a hard time finding a job.
Keep this data in mind as you read the rest of this post. It is as Zuckerman calls it, a modern day depression and a useful frame of reference to see which political party has the better vision to get the country out of this economic disaster.
At the Democratic National Convention, Clinton defined the Republican Party’s vision of compassion: “You are on your own.” There are two ways to look at the phrase.
One way is to view it as cruel and heartless. There is no safety net. As you tumble and fall, you have no idea how hard the fall is or when it happens. Who will help? Who will protect you and your family? This is what the Obama Administration and the Liberals have been doing, and will continue to do, in the last few weeks of the campaign. In the Liberal vision, government knows best. The individual takes a back seat to the collective (but they never talk about that, they just focus on reframing the conservative vision).
The conservative vision is one where one is ready to go and face the world. The conservative vision is one where a mother eagle trains her eaglets to fly. Once the eaglets have learned to fly and hunt, then they move out of the nests. They are on their own.
Anthony Esolen pointed out this week, the liberal vision of a safety net is a soft prison, a system of induced incapacity. It is a system where government is afraid that if people were able to move on their own, then there would not be a need for a large bureaucracy. The conservative vision recognizes that a need for a safety net. But it would be temporary, helping the unemployed to get back on their feet and encouraging them to find another job.
We are eager to work, but when government regulations and bad economic decisions are thrust on the American people, it is easy to understand the sense of frustration and despair. As Mort Zuckerman concludes, “[a] job is the most important family program, the most important social program, and the most important economic program in America.” That is true compassion.