Sunday, October 20, 2013

Obama Is Not In The Rotary Club

I attended a funeral for a member of The Greatest Generation on Saturday.

He was a great man who led an extraordinary life.  However, there were so many of that generation that led extraordinary lives it seems we have heard so many great stories they start to seem ordinary for that era of men.

Consider this man's life. The sixth of ten children.  Lived in a house with dirt floors and no indoor plumbing.  Father died at age 10. Worked various jobs through high school from delivering newspapers to washing dishes to setting pins in a bowling alley to support his family in The Depression.  Graduated from high school and joined the U.S. Marine Corps serving in the Pacific.  Worked as a laborer in a steel mill when he returned home from the war and started going to college at night.  He finally got his degree after eight years of night school.

He got married and stayed married to her for 64 years.  They had children who have been very successful in their own right.  He eventually started his own manufacturing business and provided employment for thousands of people over the years.  He shared his success with others by giving generously to his church and his community and of his time to various industry and community groups.

He was a committed member of the Rotary Club for many years and a local chapter President.  He was a particular believer in "The Rotary Four-Way Test" of the things we think, say or do.  He referred to it often when he had to make a decision and he encouraged others to use the test as well.  He gave out laminated cards with the test on it to friends and kept a framed copy of it behind his desk.

As I sat in the pew at this man's funeral I could not help but reflect on this test, these values and the vast difference between this gentleman who was being laid to rest and the current President of the United States.

You can certainly see the differences in their backgrounds.

What is more profound is the difference in their values and outlook.

One thing that is certain is that Barack Obama was never a Rotarian.

Let's consider the Four-Way Test if Barack Obama had applied it to his "signature" achievement---Obamacare.  It might I have helped him immensely if he had considered it.  It might have helped the entire country if he had applied the four-way test and saved us a lot of pain.

Is it the TRUTH?

No. Not even close.

Politico reported last month that the idea for Obamacare was little more than a "check-the box, news cycle expedient" because Obama needed something to say in a speech.  In other words, it was more about scoring political points against Hillary Clinton than carefully considered public policy.
“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”
The candidate jumped at it. He probably wasn’t going to get elected anyway, the team concluded. Why not go big?

Therefore, all of the rhetoric that followed such as "the average family will save $2,500 per year, "you can keep your health plan and your doctor if you want to" was not the truth.  They were just talking points.  As was his insistence that he was adamantly opposed to an individual mandate.  That wasn't the truth.  He merely was looking for a way to differentiate himself from Hillary who knew that an individual mandate was essential in any universal health care plan. That was the truth.  Barack Obama did not care about the truth when he was campaigning.

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Not by a long shot.

Obamacare is the exact opposite of fair.  It attempts to help a relatively small group of people at the expense of millions of others.  It involves selective taxation, it forces others to lose health insurance they are satisfied with, millions are asked to subsidize the costs of others with no corresponding benefits in return.  It is a classic redistribution scheme that does little more than places government in almost complete control of 1/6 of the U.S. economy.


All Obamacare has done is create ill-will and division in the country from the outset.

A large reason for this is the manner in which Obama approached the legislation from its introduction.  There was no outreach and no attempt to build good will and friendships with others. He was unwilling to listen to Republican ideas.  He was unwilling to compromise in any way.  Nothing has changed in this regard in over three years even though the framework and economic sustainability of Obamacare looks more suspect every day.

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

No again.

You can read the stories every day of lives and finances disrupted by Obamacare.

Premiums doubling and tripling.  Health plans cancelled.  Medicare benefits curtailed to pay for the uninsured under Obamacare. Health workers losing their jobs.  Full-time jobs being converted into part-time positions.

In fact, when all is said and done, it is doubtful that Obamacare will be beneficial to more than a mere fraction of the nation's 316 million citizens.

I am sure there might be some who read this and say, "What about Social Security and Medicare?".  "Can't you say the same things about them?  This is just another sour grapes gripe about Obama."

How would they have fared on the Rotary Four-Way Test?

Let's consider Social Security.


When Social Security was proposed by FDR he knew very well that Social Security was not a sustainable program the way he was proposing it.  He knew it was akin to a Ponzi scheme.  He was very truthful and expected that Social Security would have to be modified after about 30 years. 

Of course, it has been over 75 years since the program began and steps were never taken to make the system into the self-supporting annuity plan that FDR envisioned.  However, FDR was truthful about the benefits and limitations of what he was proposing from the outset/

Consider this direct quote from his message to Congress asking for Social Security to be enacted in January, 1935.

In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans. (emphasis added).


Social Security was structured so that essentially all private-sector workers (later extended to most public sector workers as well) paid into the system and everyone who paid into the system received a benefit.

It was not structured to have one group pay and another reap the benefits. In fact, this connection was considered critical in order to ensure long-term popular support for the program. The long-term success and popularity of the program is because everyone who contributes also receives something from it. The poor get proportionately more but it is considered fair in that everyone pays into the system and everyone benefits. This is far different than the the way Obamacare is structured.

Good Will and Better Friendships

Because everyone pays the same percentage up to specified levels of income and everyone receives benefits, Social Security has created bonds and shared connections between workers of all income levels and across generations. Social Security is a program that we all share in and in which we all contribute. It was not designed to pit one group against another as Obamacare was. It therefore has become a source of good will and friendship as it ties and binds us together.

Contrasted with the vote on Obamacare in which there were no Republican votes, the Social Security Act of 1935 passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bi-partisan votes. 372-33 in the House (R's voted 81-15 in favor) and 77-16 in the Senate (R's voted 16-5 in favor).

Social Security began as a program designed to promote good will and better friendships. It was intended to unite us. Obamacare has done nothing but divide us.

Beneficial To All

The entire country benefited from Social Security. It provided an immediate safety net of financial independence for all senior citizens. It also established a formal minimum retirement savings program for all workers for the future. Finally, it freed younger generations from knowing that they might be required to fully support their aged parents in their later years. It was beneficial to all and was viewed that way from the beginning. Contrast that with Obamacare.

I know that the Rotary Club assiduously works to maintain a non-partisan position in American society. However, I was curious as to which Presidents might have been Rotary Club members.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were all Honorary Rotarians. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are not.

In fact, I could not find even one reference to indicate in a Google search that Barack Obama has ever addressed a Rotary Club during his entire political career. That in itself is very telling.

I can't say that I am surprised. Are you?

To show you the full impact of what I am talking about, this is what came up when I typed in "Rotary Club + Romney in Google images.

This was the first image that came up in the search with Rotary Club + Romney.

There was not one image of Barack Obama at any Rotary Club event on the search I made.

In fact, this is the first image that came up in searching images for Rotary Club + Barack Obama.

Photo credit: www.

I kid you not.

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