by Newt Gingrich
Posted 05/06/2009 ET
If there was one feeling that inspired almost a million Americans to come out for the Tax Day Tea Parties last month it was this: That our government, supposedly created of the people, by the people and for the people, is busy picking winners and losers.
The feeling that our politics are increasingly rigged against us didn’t begin with President Obama. Deciding to bailout Wall Street rather than let deserving companies go bankrupt began under President Bush.
But the Obama Administration has elevated rewarding some Americans and punishing others to a governing philosophy.
And as he has expanded the size and the scope of government, President Obama has only increased his ability to reach into our businesses, our communities, and even our homes to separate Americans into two groups: Those who will benefit from the new order, and those who will pay the bills.
What follows is just a partial list of the winners and losers of the Obama Administration so far, organized by the government policies that will decide their fate:
The Chrysler Bankruptcy Pt. 1: From the Rule of Law to the Rule of Politics
Winners: The United Auto Workers
Loser: The Rule of Law
Bankruptcy was once a legal process in which an insolvent company, an impartial judge and creditors voting in good faith worked together to make the best of a bad situation.
Under the Obama Administration, the Chrysler bankruptcy has become a political process in which government has bought off some creditors, demonized others, and predetermined a favorable result for an important political constituency.
What happened last week with Chrysler was an unprecedented case of executive branch involvement in a bankruptcy proceeding. The Obama Administration bullied smaller investors to fall in line with TARP-funded creditors in a deal that ultimately benefited the union bosses who bear so much of the responsibility for Chrysler’s downfall to begin with. In the end, the losers weren’t just the secured creditors and the taxpayers who have footed the bill for all these bailouts, but the rule of law itself.
The Chrysler Bankruptcy Pt. 2: America, Get Ready for the “Model O”
Winners: The People Who Are Evading Responsibility for Chrysler’s Bankruptcy
Losers: Consumers Who Want to Buy Good American Cars
The end result of the rigged Chrysler bankruptcy is that two political entities whose priority is winning votes (the Federal Government and the UAW) now have majority ownership of a commercial entity whose priority should be making good cars.
And despite his protestations that he wants to get out of the auto business, President Obama has some definite ideas about what kind of cars Chrysler should make. Announcing the bankruptcy, he blamed Chrysler’s troubles, not on its uncompetitive labor costs, but on its “failure to make the fuel-efficient cars like its foreign competitors.”
Politicians, not businessmen and women, are calling the shots at Chrysler. America, get ready for the Model O.
Cap and Trade: Punishing Americans With High Energy Taxes
Winners: Government Favored “Green Industries”
Losers: Anyone Who Heats a Home, Drives a Car or Has a Job
I’m in favor of doing all we can to protect our environment, but I have a fundamental difference with Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House: I believe in incentivizing Americans to produce the innovations that will protect our environment, not punishing Americans with taxes, regulation and litigation.
The Administration’s cap and trade legislation makes losers of the American people by imposing a $1 trillion-$2 trillion energy tax on an already struggling economy. And the winners? They’re the lobbyists for favored special interests and “green” industries who are already lining up in Washington to collect the spoils.
Closing Gitmo: Terrorists from Guantanamo Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You
Winners: Terrorists and Anti-Americanism Worldwide
Losers: The New Neighbors of Terrorists and The American Tax-Payers
You may have missed it in all the news of the week, but the Administration has a truly mind-boggling idea about how to solve the problem of the terrorists left homeless by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay: Send them to a neighborhood near you.
That’s right. As many as 30 detainees at Guantanamo are slated for release into the United States, including a group of Chinese, al Qaeda-trained jihadists who are reportedly being encouraged to settle in Northern Virginia.
And not only is the Obama Administration releasing these terrorists into the United States, it’s proposing that the U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.
Here’s how Dennis Blair, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, rationalizes their plan for welfare for terrorists: "If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life," Blair said last month. "You can't just put them on the street."
Picking a New Supreme Court Justice: Playing Favorites Through the Courts
Winners: Anyone the President Deems Deserving of Judicial “Empathy”
Losers: Everyone Else
President Obama has announced that his criteria for picking a Supreme Court Justice to replace the retiring David Souter are jurists with the proper “empathy” and those who don’t regard justice as “abstract legal theory.”
Empathy for the less fortunate should have a central place in our public policy. But feeling the people’s pain is the job of the people who make the laws. The job of judges is to interpret the laws without regard to the race, color, creed or station of the individuals involved.
When we start picking judges based on their “empathy” for certain groups, the rights of favored groups inevitably collide with the rights of others. That’s why we have – or should have – equal justice before the law.
Demonizing Wall Street: Putting Talent and Resources Where Washington Wants Them
Winners: Professional “Community Organizers” and Other Government Activists
Losers: Young Americans Who Want to Chose Their Own Careers
President Obama frequently urges young Americans to emulate him by making the choice to forgo a lucrative career in finance or law and choose public service instead. But now he’s put the full power of the federal government behind his favored career path for young Americans.
Speaking last week to the New York Times, President Obama said that his anti-business, high-taxing, and high-regulating crusade against Wall Street “means that more talent, more resources will be going to other sectors of the economy. I actually think that’s healthy."
The message will not be lost on young Americans: Do what the President thinks is “healthy.” Be an Obama winner, not a loser.
What is at Stake Isn’t Just Tax Dollars and Jobs But Freedom
The list could go on and on.
What is at stake isn’t just the tax dollars, the jobs and the opportunities of those Americans who come out on the losing side of the Obama Administration’s policies -- as important as these things are.
What is at stake are moral issues of fairness and freedom. As Arthur Brooks, the President of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote last week, it’s immoral for the government to “confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can. It's also a moral issue to lower the rewards for entrepreneurial success, and to spend what we don't have without regard for our children's future.”
Americans don’t mind working hard and competing to win. We don’t even mind losing sometimes.
What we mind is government making the call. That was the real message of the Tea Party movement, and it’s one President Obama and his aides would do well to hear.
Remembering Jack Kemp
I end today on a note of sorrow and remembrance of a great man.
Callista and I were deeply saddened to learn of Jack Kemp’s passing last Saturday.
America knew Jack Kemp as a public servant of boundless wisdom, energy, optimism and compassion. Callista and I were fortunate to know him as a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this painful time. You can read our full statement here.