Filmmaker Spike Lee may have given us a peek into the future yesterday when he said that Barack Obama can “do what he wants” should he win a second term.
Lee’s rhetoric mimics the top U.S. progressive groups that have the real-world connections with the White House to plan and implement a second-term Obama agenda. The progressives see another four years of Obama rule as their ticket to the fundamental transformation of America into a socialist welfare state.
With the selection by Mitt Romney of Paul Ryan as his running mate, this utopian takeover is now being directly challenged in the presidential contest. Ryan’s six-term voting record may evidence some compromise to his small-government vision, but his overall dedication to lowering taxes, reforming entitlements and reining in out-of-control spending are beyond dispute.
Exponential increases in government spending are planned for a second Obama term. The key progressive think tanks are already delivering their recommendations to the White House. This second-term progressive wish list is critical. Obama’s first-term strategy did not materialize out of thin air. The president’s signature policies – including the “stimulus,” defense initiatives and even Obamacare – were crafted over years by the same major progressive organizations and activists now hard at work planning Obama’s second-term strategy on jobs, wages, health care, immigration, defense – even electoral reform.
And while I am not arguing that Obama will attempt to implement all of their plans exactly as outlined, there can be little doubt their schemes inform the basic blueprint of Obama’s second term.
On health care – which encompasses about one-sixth of our economy – the plans begin with ensuring that Obamacare is implemented in ways that would make it nearly impossible to repeal. The next step is based around incremental expansions of Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that would see more and more Americans being covered through public insurance in a manner that nudges the country closer to a single-payer system.
When it comes to “industrial policy,” Obama let the cat out of the bag last week when he boasted about his government assistance to the auto industry and then advocated extending such “success” to “every industry.” In fact, a key progressive goal for Obama’s second term is the centralization of jobs by the federal government, most prominently with a massive government-jobs works program. One plan is for a 21st Century Works Progress Administration Act – a revival of FDR’s era – that would “immediately put Americans to work rebuilding our nation and strengthening our communities.”
And that’s just the start of the spending spree. There are second-term plans for a “green stimulus” (as if the first Obama stimulus were not an utter waste flanked by corruption) and the founding of a federal “green bank” or “Energy Independence Trust,” which would borrow from the federal Treasury to provide low-cost financing to private-sector investments in “clean energy.”
Progressive organizations behind White House policy have also crafted specific, second-term plans for a federally mandated “living wage” that would force all private employers to increase the salaries of the nation’s workers to meet “basic needs” such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and recreation.
While this may sound good, in 80 cities where such “living wages” have been implemented since 2003, almost all have been miserable failures, creating an anti-business climate that saw private companies flee to other cities.
Obama, meanwhile, has adopted “economic fairness” as the centerpiece of his second-term agenda. The president’s January 2012 State of the Union address called for “equal pay for equal work.” While Obama has not explained exactly what he means by “economic fairness,” progressive groups behind White House policy have been more clear on the subject in their recommendations for Obama’s next four years.
Those recommendations include something called “paycheck fairness,” wherein the federal government would determine the “value” of individual jobs in the private sector instead of allowing employers to pay what they want. The government could also impose non-wage benefits such as sick leave, paid family leave and more control over their work schedules. One plans would provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to employees who need time off to care for a new child, a sick family member or their own illness.
And of course these progressive groups have devised plans for how the government can help to increase union membership during a second term, including tax incentives for unionized companies.
Why is President Obama not campaigning for re-election on the merits of these specific utopian policies? For the same reason he masked his first-term goals behind the general rhetoric of “hope” and “change” – because most of the American people don’t want, know that we cannot afford, and are unwilling to pay for the progressive “paradise.”
Barack Obama has a stealth agenda for his second term, just as he did for his first. The question of the hour is, will we be fooled twice?