President Obama attempted to channel yet another President in a speech yesterday in Osowatomie, Kansas, this time choosing the rough rider Teddy Roosevelt. Unfortunately for Obama, our economy is what is being given a rough ride. Teddy gave the speech 101 years ago to lay out his progressive agenda. Obama decided to also make the first transparent move of his administration and broadcast to everyone that he too is a progressive. There were some 14 references to the word “fair” during his speech, which only matches the number of times the word was used during a 1917 Lenin stump speech. The word “fair” is to me the scariest word that can be used in reference to the government and society. Fair means that there must be some judgment in some circumstance as to what is fair. When used in conjunction with society, the determination of fair is left to the government, which can operate either benignly or malignantly. As more power is ceded to the federal government, the more malicious it tends to operate. Let’s face it, we are a fallen world. When we centralize power, we allow more and more of our lives to be dictated by a fallen people. This is why our nation’s greatness has been eroding in direct correlation to the size of our government. I don’t want to make this all spiritual, but people are going to turn to a central power one way or another. In the absence of a central government, it is more likely to be God. When the government grows, it is less likely to be God. Again, we see a direct correlation in the erosion of faith to the increase in the size of our government.
Back to “fair”, since that is the driving force in Obama’s message and governance. I ask you this, where does “fair share” come into play in a free society? Fair requires two things, a judgment on what is fair, and the enforcement of that judgment. For example, suppose we look at a football game as we would a free market. The game has rules regulating the play, just as there are regulations that dictate business. People have different views about the value of many of the rules, but one thing is consistent, the rules only get numerous. In football, the rules are applicable to both teams, however, they are subjectively applied, providing for varying results. It may be fair or not fair, but this isn’t even the kind of fair Obama is talking about. What Obama is talking about is fairness in outcome. This means that regardless of the rules, effort, or results of either team, a referee will determine whether or not the outcome is fair. This referee may choose to distribute points from one team to another. Suppose both teams have an equal record, but maybe on team had more penalties, perhaps some points would be taken from the less penalized team and given to the other. Even better, suppose the team with the smaller score has a worse record. The referee may feel that because their overall records are so disproportionate, that a large number of points would be taken from the better team and given to the worse team, resulting in the worse team achieving a victory. You see, for fairness to be enforced, one party in the equation must be penalized. Such a system would make watching football less desirable if the outcome was not left to the skill and abilities of the teams playing, and was instead decided by a single bureaucrat.
In the free market, it works the same way. If I go into work with the understanding that my individual effort has a direct impact on my financial outcome, I am more likely to apply more individual effort. However, if I show up to work and the formula that is applied is that the more effort I apply, the more likely the additional benefit of my additional effort will be applied to those that applied less effort, the less likely I am going to apply additional effort. In fact, the more likely I am going to simply want to receive the benefit of other people’s efforts. The more likely one person is going to reduce effort and hope to receive the benefit of other’s efforts, the more likely there will be a disproportionate number of beneficiaries to contributors. Does this sound familiar. This is the system we have been going down for decades now. Instead of calling it a benefit, it is called an entitlement. How is this fair? The truth is that in Obama’s world, some people should be treated more fairly than others. Going back to our football analogy, all people willing to participate within the free market system will benefit from the success of others. A bad football team playing a good football team receives the benefit of added ticket sales from people wanting to see the better team or better television revenue for people wanting to watch it on TV. Let’s leave fair with the kids and grow up Mr. President.