Fox News talker Bill O’Reilly took time out of his show Monday night to opine on what he believes is the biggest lie of the 2016 presidential campaign. Namely, the idea that the government can somehow replace personal responsibility in an effort to get our nation back on track. During his Talking Points Memo segment, O’Reilly explained that he believed the candidates were sincere in their hopes of stabilizing our economy and sparking new growth, but that their ideas could never work without a cultural change around our nation.
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Apparently millions of American voters believe the federal government should be required by law to provide things for the folks – education, healthcare, good jobs, financial security in old age, on and on.
That belief runs counter to how America was established in the late 18th century when our first-elected officials put their game plan into effect.
Basically their vision was a limited one. Citizens would have basic freedoms to worship, vote, speak openly without being punished, assemble without interference, and pursue happiness within the framework of the law.
It was entirely up to the folks how they would use those freedoms. No one was forced to go to the voting booth as they are in Australia, no one was forced to believe in God as they were in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Today the question of individual choice — the quest to succeed or fail on your own — has almost been obliterated by politicians and judges who don’t respect the concept of competition and the struggle to prosper.
In short, they are evolving away from how this country was established.
In addition, they are deceiving the American people into believing that their success and well-being will be almost assured by a giant federal nanny state, which is absolutely impossible in a nation of nearly 320 million people.
Politicians deceive because it is an easy way to seduce voters unhappy with their circumstance in life.
When Bernie Sanders tells Americans that the economic system is rigged against them, he destroys incentive.
Why work hard if the big banks will harm you no matter what? If I am failing, it’s not my fault — the phantom billionaires are hurting me.
Sanders is correct that the feds need to stop fraud in the marketplace, but his message of wall-to-wall capitalist corruption is false and pernicious.
When a guy like Rand Paul tells Americans that they should be able to intoxicate themselves at will and public safety be dammed, he gives license to behavior that has destroyed untold billions of people the world over. Not to mention the message that legalized drugs sends to children.
We don’t live in a vacuum here. The condition of others can directly affect us, just look at the drunk-driving stats.
When Al Sharpton and his grievance lobby assert that black Americans are oppressed by a racist system bent on hurting them, he provides an excuse for a litany of apathetic and destructive behaviors.
The kid struggling in a bad school with parents who don’t care needs all the encouragement leadership can give him or her, not a list of historical atrocities that can cause even more bitterness.
The cold fact is very few powerful people are willing to address vexing problems by telling the truth to the folks.
Here’s what the government owes us:
Protection from foreign concerns who would harm us.
Protection from criminals who would harm us.
A secure border system whereby our immigration laws are enforced and respected.
An infrastructure of mass transportation that is safe and efficient. What the U.S. airlines are doing to their passengers is a scandal and the fact that we don’t have a high-speed rail system is flat out irresponsible.
The government also has an obligation to protect our constitutional rights and to protect private property.
Seizing assets after an American dies is abhorrent. Many Americans work hard all their lives to give their children a better situation than they had.
Finally, it is the duty of those in power to foster a system that allows every single American a truly fair shot at material and emotional success.
That means schools with strong educational and disciplinary standards; subsidized benefits for the poor and infirmed that are delivered responsibly with clear guidelines; also, protections in the workplace against companies that would violate labor laws and exploit powerless employees.
That’s the heart of what the government owes us and social engineering is not part of it, nor is free education, nor free health care, nor a free income if you choose to lay about.
Workers pay taxes to support the government, as well as for personal social security in old age, which the feds have mismanaged in the extreme.
We deserve honesty and responsible spending, not wasteful programs designed to secure votes.
Last week I spoke with Donald Trump about his promise to return jobs from overseas.
Mr. Trump, Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton all say they will punish American companies who move jobs abroad.
A president could certainly make life very difficult for corporations that ship jobs out, but the truth is that many of the lost jobs pay little and even if they do come back it’s a marginal play.
The big problem is that millions of Americans are so poorly educated and personally irresponsible they simply cannot compete in the free marketplace.
So what are the power-seekers going to do about that?
When I asked Mr. Trump how he would combat a culture among some young African-Americans that scorns conventional behavior, he replied that job growth would take care of it.
TRUMP: “My message is bringing jobs back to the country and they’re going to have jobs.”
O’REILLY: “But how are you going to get jobs for them? Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads and, you know, how are you going — and I hate to be generalized about it but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to give jobs to people who aren’t qualified for jobs?”
TRUMP: “We’re going to bring jobs back. We’re going to have Apple computers made in this country. Not just –“
O’REILLY: “But you have to have skills to make Apple computers and the educational system –“
TRUMP: “We will get the skills.”
TRUMP: “We will get the skills. We will develop the skills.”
Now the race hustlers, who apparently have not walked the streets of poor neighborhoods lately, immediately accused me of racism.
And that is why the acute problem of cultural deprivation among underclass children of all colors is never addressed. The smear merchants hammer anyone who does so.
It is beyond disgraceful that powerful people look away from the real problem.
Mr. Trump is noble in his intent to create jobs and train Americans to do them.
But that will require much more than trade deals and rhetoric.
It will require a cultural change in many working class and poor precincts. If you reject the conventional road to success — education and hard work — you will fail in our capitalistic system … no matter what kind of outlandish promises Bernie Sanders makes.
It is all about personal responsibility and motivation, and who is preaching that message? Who?
The truth is that individual motivation is being destroyed by phony politicians seeking power by promising an endless series of entitlements to a population that is moving away from achievement and into the gimme zone … gimme, gimme, gimme.
Until that deep cultural flaw is exposed, until the phonies, race hustlers and corporate greed heads are called out, we will continue to see big lies spouted by deceivers and enabled by a gutless media.
God help America.
And that’s the memo.
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