What Is Moral Failure in Obama-Speak?

Last week Barack Obama and John McCain took questions at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency at Saddleback Church near Los Angeles. This is the fifth in a series examining the candidates’ responses. Pastor Rick Warren asked…

What was America’s greatest moral failure?

Most Americans would say slavery was the nation’s greatest moral failure. Both candidates’ appear to have been thinking more of how to incorporate campaign themes than how to best answer this question. Both candidates conflated individual morality and national morality.

The incoherent gibberish from John McCain was his worst of the evening. It was a dull thud in an otherwise stellar performance.

Barack Obama’s response was worse than incoherent. It was preposterous and insulting.

Obama’s Bible reference was Matthew 25: 31 – 46 where Jesus said that any generous acts toward “the least”, meaning the overlooked or ignored needy, were generous acts toward Jesus himself. Jesus then spoke of a judgment day when those who refused to help “the least” would be separated from Him in “eternal doom” while those who were generous would dwell with Him in “eternal life.”

While this scripture was obviously about individual conduct, Barack Obama treated it as a national, political manifesto.

The notion that we Christian believers can or should outsource to government bureaucracy our obligation to help the needy is not a new idea, of course. Since President Johnson Launched “The Great Society” programs in the mid Sixties, federal and state spending on programs for the needy has exploded, often justified as government becoming “we” or “us” and assuming the individual responsibility to help care for the needy.

Here is current year spending on a list of those Great Society programs of the Sixties that are still in operation. The total equals 38% of Federal spending. States spend several hundred billion more in required matching funds.

Senator Obama often complains about “spending $12 Billion per month in Iraq,” as if that expense were all that stood in the way of funding an American utopia. His number is is exaggerated by about 25% and is dwarfed by the $80 Billion per month Federal, plus additional state spending on these programs.

In addition to these massive programs Americans give an estimated $400 Billion per year to churches and private charities for help to the needy. Numerous objective studies have shown that private charities are much more effective at lifting people out of poverty and dependence.

Politicians like Obama talk about the poor and needy as if nothing were being done to help them, while these programs, run by those same politicians, apparently achieve very little in exchange for Trillions of tax dollars.

Senator Obama also mentioned “…providing ladders of opportunity for people to get to the middle class.” Is he proposing a sweeping new government responsibility?  What would government actually do?  This is another Obamism: vague, feel-good rhetoric, designed to be interpreted by the listener as meaning whatever the listener would like it to mean, with the knowledge that there will be nearly as many interpretations as there are listeners.

For Obama to claim Americans are guilty of a great moral failure to provide resources to the needy is offensive, outrageous and out of touch with reality.

1 Comment so far

  1. aaa again on August 26th, 2008

    BoomerJeff hits on a theme often overlooked, perhaps intentionally, by politicians and advocates alike. Voters who REALLY desire to help “those less fortunate” should reflect on the figures for a moment.

    The fact of the matter is that we have no shortage of government spending on assistance for “the poor.” The spending levels have outpaced both population growth and inflation combined for over 40 years now, to the point where it totals 38% of the entire Federal budget, a sum larger than the GDP of most countries !!! (Not even counting local government.) Thats a staggering statistic.

    Yet what have we to show for this largesse? Apparantly very little. After all, how could Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid campaign on this 40 year old theme if our dollars were having the intended effect of solving these social ills?

    Well, for politicians perhaps REALLY helping the poor isn’t the actual goal – empire building and vote getting is.

    But what say ye, voters?? Voters need to look themselves in the mirror and ask “do I REALLY want to help the poor, or do I just want to promote a leftist political philosophy?” And if the answer is the former, “am I foolish enough to pull the lever for the latest in a long line of promisers of govt funded nirvana – Barack Obama – who somehow magically will have the key to making it work?”

    Said another way, “do I really want to help the poor, or just feel good about myself by outsourcing the task to govt by sticking it to the rich?” The evidence of 45 years of government ineffectiveness suggests its the latter.